Anaphylactic shock is a life-threatening condition where a severe allergic reaction causes bronchial airways to constrict. By recognizing both the early symptoms of anaphylactic shock, and the later, more dramatic symptoms such as respiratory distress and unconsciousness, you may be able to summon emergency help for yourself, someone you love or even a perfect stranger.
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Recognize the early symptoms of anaphylactic shock, which may occur within a few seconds after the allergen is ingested. These symptoms include difficulty in breathing, swollen or tingling lips, a drop in blood pressure leading to dizziness or nausea and flushed or discolored skin.
Note signs of gastrointestinal distress that may help you to recognize the onset of anaphylactic shock. These symptoms may emerge just a few minutes after the allergen has been ingested, and may include vomiting, diarrhea or severe abdominal cramps.
Learn about some of the less common symptoms that may occur in the early stages of anaphylactic shock. These include a metallic taste in the mouth, itchy skin and the urge to faint or lose consciousness. A tingling feeling in the extremities may also indicate the onset of anaphylactic shock in some individuals.
Recognize the symptoms of anaphylactic shock as the condition grows more severe. This may include a constant change in the conscious state of the individual, including fainting, dizziness or temporary losses in consciousness. In addition, the skin of the individual may swell noticeably and even turn blue, or hives may appear.
Act quickly when you start to recognize symptoms of anaphylactic shock. In many cases, the victim may only have a few minutes to summon emergency help before critical symptoms, such as paralysis, unconsciousness and blocked airways, occur. It is better to call 911 just to be safe than to call too late and face dire circumstances.
Locate the allergen as quickly as possible once you notice the first symptoms of anaphylactic shock. In the majority of anaphylactic shock incidents, the culprits are shellfish or peanuts. By identifying the allergen before medical help arrives, you may save time in determining the course of treatment.
Tips and warnings
- In many cases, the symptoms of anaphylactic shock may disappear for 2 or 3 hours, only to return with greater intensity. This is known as a biphasic reaction, and is common among those with severe allergies.
- It may be necessary to find someone who knows CPR to treat a victim of anaphylactic shock, in case the bronchial tubes constrict and the individual can no longer breathe.