First Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

Posted on: Tue, 03/21/2000 - 8:25am
Tina H.'s picture
Joined: 10/13/1999 - 09:00

Many of you have stated that your children have had anaphylactic reactions in the past. What are the first symptoms of anaphylaxis? Do the begin with hives? Swelling? Vomiting? Wheezing? Do they follow any particular pattern? If you have witnessed an anaphylactic reaction, please respond. Many of us are confused with this issue. How do we differentiate a bad reaction from a life-threatening reaction? Can any initial symptom result in anaphylaxis or is it always the same? Thanks in advance for your responses.

Posted on: Tue, 03/21/2000 - 9:44am
Diane's picture
Joined: 12/15/1999 - 09:00

pI have often wondered the same questions Tina. My 3 yr old daughter had hives in the very beginning as a baby from ingestion of PB products.(didn't know what it was from) At two she had swelling in her face from touching PB that caused her eyes to close shut. At three she had vomited instantly from eating PB that was in a cookie. She had a runny nose (like a faucet!) that lasted days, from a teeny tiny taste of a peanut butter cookie that someone gave her. However, I never administered the epi-pen because her breathing did not seem to be labored. Except the first reaction that I realized she had an allergy. My son gave her "a" reeses peices. Just one had her in such a sneezing fit that she finally fell asleep from it. Her breathing obviously was affected from all the sneezing. I did not know at the time of her allergy. But I often wondered too what constitutes an anaphylactic reaction./p

Posted on: Tue, 03/21/2000 - 10:02am
Susan K's picture
Joined: 08/13/1999 - 09:00

pSevere and sudden hives and vomiting are symptoms are anaphylaxis. Everyone responds differently. I remember calling the doctor's office and 911 when my son drank a small sip of milk, both asking if he was breathing okay. 2-3 minutes after the milk (if that) he reacted with severe hives all over and vomiting. I think had I not used the epi-pen, it would have been next./p

Posted on: Tue, 03/21/2000 - 11:50pm
Tammy James's picture
Joined: 06/01/1999 - 09:00

pOur son's first reaction seems to be COUGHING. His only 2 injestion reactions have followed this pattern: coughing, vomiting, wheezing. The second time happened much quicker than the first. These reactions were before we knew about the allergy. Had we known, we would have used the Epi immediately!! His latest anaphylactic reaction was to Pull Ups, and he got hives and coughed incessantly. The Benedryl did not stop either one - we gave him the Epi and took him to the ER. (Next time we'll give it sooner!) This has been our experience, although everyone's is different. I have read many posts about "THE COUGH" - maybe this is pretty common??? Hope I have helped. Take care, Tammy/p

Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2000 - 1:35am
Sheila's picture
Joined: 07/22/1999 - 09:00

pMy son has gone into anaphylaxis once and the very first sign was his nose pouring like a faucet. Next his left eye swelled shut and he got hives on his legs and stomach. He never vomited or even acted like he might. He coughed a little bit (but whenever he cries hard he starts coughing so I thought that it was the crying that caused the cough but maybe not). He was crying because he said his eye hurt but never said anything about his throat hurting. He was not coughing anymore by the time we got to the emergency /
The swelling around his eye didn't go down until about 2 days /

Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2000 - 2:09am
Tina H.'s picture
Joined: 10/13/1999 - 09:00

pSheila,br /
Why did the docs consider that reaction anaphylactic? Did the symptoms go away on their own or did you have to administer epi?br /
Are hives alone and swelling life-threatening? Hope you read this to respond. Thanks so much./p

Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2000 - 3:27am
kristene's picture
Joined: 09/27/1999 - 09:00

pEli has gone into full blown anaphylaxis once. He was at the babysitter's and he pulled a glass of milk off the kitchen table. It splashed on him, but none got in his mouth. I happened to come to pick him up just s few seconds later./p
pThe babysitter was taking off his shirt and he just looked different. He looked like he was on drugs he was so lethargic (tired) and his eyes were very glassy. He started sneezing, time after time after time. His body had huge welts all over it. When he sneezed HUGE amounts of mucous would come out. /p
pI rushed him to the doctor and by the time I got there his lungs felt like they were filling up with fluid./p
pHe was 16 months old, and at the time I had no idea he was anaphylactic to just contact. I didn't even know that was possible./p

Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2000 - 4:46am
DMB's picture
Joined: 02/22/2001 - 09:00

pMy son's first intial contact with peanut butter was hives all over his body and eye/facial swelling. He was 12 mos. at the time and the pediatrician said to just keep him away from peanuts. He had 2 minor reactions after that (one from a kiss from his cousin who had eaten a pbj sandwich earlier in the day and another "touch" incident). He had an actual anaphylactic reaction at 18 mos. My mother-in-law had given him a piece of chocolate candy that was in the same box as other peanut/chocolate candies. Anyway, my husband got home from his mother's house and brought my son inside and he immediately started coughing and sneezing uncontrollably. At first, I didn't know what was wrong because my husband was sure he had not eaten anything with peanuts. Then I took off his clothes and the hives were starting on his stomach and legs. Then the hives appeared on his face, his eye swelled shut, his lips were starting to swell, and he was drooling. At this point I had given him benadryl and had my husband call his mother to see if she had maybe given him something with peanuts--which is when we found out about the piece of candy. Luckily my sister (who is a nurse) had stopped over at that time and noticed his speech was slurred and he was drooling (sign of a swollen tongue). She said get to the ER immediately! He was given a shot of epinephrine and was fine after that. Unfortunately, his pediatrician had not taken his peanut allergy very seriously until this episode when he suggested that he see an allergist. This was when we were finally given all the information about epi-pens, anaphylaxis, etc. . . I just cringe thinking about that day and what could've happened. I wish I had the information then that I have now! Best of luck to you./p

Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2000 - 5:28am
Shawn's picture
Joined: 09/07/1999 - 09:00

pThe majority of people seem to focus on breathing difficulty as the big criteria for determining anaphylaxis. But that's not exactly the case. An anaphylactic reaction occurs when the body releases histamine into the bloodstream upon exposure to an allergenic substance - the histamine causes the blood vessels to dilate (expand) and the airways to contract. For most people, this is mild. You take a Benadryl or other antihistamine and the reaction stops. The problem is if too much histamine is released too fast. The sudden expansion of the blood vessels can cause the blood pressure to drop dangerously low, cause the heart to malfunction, AND/OR cause the airways to constrict too tightly to allow oxygen into the body. It's the rapid fall in blood pressure/heart function that causes shock. A breathing problem causes suffocation. This is why most doctors say to give the Epi-Pen if there is a sudden, rapidly spreading hives reaction or flushing of the skin(indicating sudden blood vessel dilation), even if there is no breathing difficulty yet./p

Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2000 - 6:36am
Austins mom's picture
Joined: 02/08/2000 - 09:00

pFirst found out my son was pa at age 10. months. He had itchy red hives all over his face, very cranky etc. He never went into shock that /
Next time was a t 3 yrs. old. Ate a cookie containing mixed nuts. His symptoms in order, 1)coughing and spitting(as to get rid of the taste) 2) hives, itchy rash. 3) ambulance ride to hospital, sat there and waited in er for about 20 min after 10min ride to the hospital, 4) in waiting room: he vomited (re-infecting his airway). VERY itchy rash all over his body, so much he could not sit still or stop scratching. 5) finally they took him back to the examine room where he went unconcious in my arms. I couldnt even shake him awake. I screamed for the doctor and they came in and administered the epinephrine, he was awake in about 2 minutes, THANK GOD. But he was still on Benadryl for a week after that./p

Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2000 - 10:43am
bakermom's picture
Joined: 11/30/1999 - 09:00

pI'm not really sure how many times my oldest son has gone into ana. I have always caught it in time with the Benadryl. He has so many reactions so often I'd be using an epi daily. For Hunter he gets hives or a rash immediately, he becomes disoriented and confused. Then he feels very hot. I can see the red rash spreding over his torso as he complains of being hot. Sometimes he has vomited or complained of nausea. Sometimes his eyes, ears and nose begins to swell. He will get huge welts sometimes too. On a couple of occasions his throat was "itchy" and he kept trying to clear it. I'm not afraid of "wasting" an epi pen, I've just never been convinced he needed it. I always have 4 on hand, my other kids are also allergic. For my other son his face gets bright red and rashey and he will become covered with rash from head to toe and he becomes lathargic and his ears turn bright red. During a bad reaction he tends to spit and shove his hand into his mouth. The reactions that have scared me the most are the ones when Hunter keeps telling me he is hot and the rash spreds. Even though the others would be considered severe, those are very scarey. /p


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