Food Anaphylaxis: Eating A Very Common Food Can Result In This Life-Threatening Symptom

Anaphylactic shock (A-nuh-fih-LAK-tik shok): A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been previously exposed to. The reaction may include itchy skin, edema, collapsed bloos vessels, fainting, difficulty in breathing, and death. -- NCI Dictionary

Anaphylaxis is a severe "systemic" reaction, which means that the whole body is affected, It often occurs within minutes of exposure. The fact that eating a very common food can result in this very rare-but-life-threatening symptom (especially among small children) is the primary reason for peanut allergy's widespread publicity.

It is important to know that an anaphylactic reaction can only occur if the victim has been previously exposed to the offending agent. For example, someone who is allergic to bee stings might have a strong reaction the first time he or she is stung, but will not have an anaphylactic reaction.

A wide range of substances; including insect venom, pollen, latex, and various foods and drugs; can cause anaphylaxis. In sensitive people, anaphylaxis can occur within minutes of contact with an allergen. It may also occur up to several hours after exposure.

Anaphylaxis not only causes breathing difficulty and sometimes respiratory blockage, it can also result in a sudden blood pressure drop which may result in a heart attack.

Anaphylactic shock is the most severe and serious form of anaphylaxis. It is an urgent medical emergency requiring immediate treatment, chiefly because of:

  • Bronchial tissue in the lungs begin to expand, causing the airways to contract.
  • Breathing turns to wheezing and becomes extremely difficult; soon the person may pass out. Skin, lips and nail beds may turn blue.
  • Dilating blood vessels leak water into the surrounding tissue which begins to swell, particularly in the face and neck. Blood pressure drops as well due to blood vessel dilation.

Left untreated, anaphylactic shock can prove fatal just ten minutes following exposure, but prompt and effective medical care can save the patient's life. Usually, a shot of epinephrine (adrenaline) is administered, which constricts the blood vessels, slows or stops the tissue from swelling, and allows the airways to expand.

An epinephrine injection is the only known and proven treatment for severe anaphylaxis. Epinephrine is a hormone commonly known as adrenaline.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:

  • Hives or other epidermic swelling
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Throat tightness / choking feeling
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Stomach pain & Diarrhea
  • Faintness or dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Cardiac arrest

Food anaphylaxis is the leading known cause of anaphylactic reactions treated in U.S. hospitals. It is estimated that there are 30,000 anaphylactic reactions to foods treated in emergency departments and 150 to 200 deaths each year. Peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish account for most of these severe cases.

Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, eMedicineHealth
Photo: Pixabay

Latest Community Discussions

Latest Post by Theschaeffers Mon, 07/13/2020 - 10:53am
Comments: 0
Latest Post by beachgal2020 Thu, 07/09/2020 - 2:17pm
Comments: 173
Latest Post by beachgal2020 Thu, 07/09/2020 - 2:08pm
Comments: 714
Latest Post by beachgal2020 Thu, 07/09/2020 - 1:51pm
Comments: 483
Latest Post by doggydude (not verified) Wed, 07/08/2020 - 6:06am
Comments: 9
Latest Post by doggydude (not verified) Wed, 07/08/2020 - 6:00am
Comments: 14

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

Peanuts and Nuts Can Trigger An Asthma Attack

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI), more than 3...

There are more "peanut-free" products than ever on the supermarket shelves. This means more choices than ever for peanut-allergic shoppers and...

It Is Easy To Buy Peanut Free Chocolate Online

Ask any parent of a child with a potentially life-...

How Do You Determine If A Food Is Safe For A Peanut Allergic Person?

The answer varies. “Peanut-free” means different things to different...

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a New Drug Application for an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) designed for use with...

Fact 1: Over a third of food allergy reactions happen after the first known oral...

It can be easy to overlook the presence of nut allergens in non-food items because the allergens are often listed by their Latin or scientific...

It’s hard to think of Chinese food without thinking of peanuts. China is the world’s leading peanut producer, and that’s not a coincidence....

Soymilk is one of the most popular alternatives to cow’s milk. As well as being rich in fiber, soy is a great source of protein and contains all...

My mom was at a lakeside restaurant enjoying fish and chips when her mouth began tingling. The next day at a family gathering, we had grilled...

Peanuts and peanut oil are cheap and easy additives to food and other commercial goods. It is surprising (and alarming if you have a...

Vegetable oil is healthy before it is hydrogenated and a process that requires adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats. Oils that are often...

Although it's true that peanuts are in many snack items, there are several snacks that do not contain peanuts. Anyone who has a peanut...

The most frightening thing about a severe allergic reaction to a new food is that it can happen so fast. If parents are not looking for allergic...

It may never be safe to begin feeding peanut butter to your baby or toddler if you have peanut allergies in your family. If either parent or one...

Families who have food allergies are familiar with reading food labels and of being aware of everything that they or their allergic child eats....

If a parent is alert and observing their toddler when peanuts are first introduced, the chance of the child receiving help if she has a reaction...

For those who don't have experience with peanut allergies, going 'peanut-free' often seems as easy as avoiding peanut butter sandwiches and bags...

Dealing with food allergies can be difficult, especially if you're not sure what's 'safe' to buy. This is especially true for those with severe...

Are you craving sweets? Those with peanut allergies must be especially careful when indulging their...