Anaphylaxis is an emergency condition that requires immediate medical
CPR should be initiated if the individual is not breathing.
Epinephrine is a medication used to treat severe allergic reactions that
can result in anaphylaxis. Administering the epinephrine as soon as possible
improves the chances of survival and a quick recovery. Epinephrine opens the
airways and raises the blood pressure by constricting blood vessels. Patients
may also be admitted to the hospital to have their blood pressure monitored and
possibly to receive breathing support.
Other emergency interventions may also include endotracheal intubation
(placing a tube through the nose or mouth into the airway) or emergency surgery
to place a tube directly into the trachea (tracheostomy or cricothyrotomy).
Hypotension is usually treated with intravenous fluids and sometimes
with vasoconstrictive medications also referred to as "pressors."
Bronchodilator drugs like Salbutamol© (known as Albuterol© in the United
States) are used to treat bronchospasm.
After epinephrine are other lifesaving measures are taken,
antihistamines (like diphenhydramine) and corticosteroids (like prednisone) may
be given to further reduce symptoms.
Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis should carry an autoinjectable
epinephrine device (known as an EpiPen©) with them at all times.
Anaphylaxis is considered a medical emergency that requires immediate
medical care. Therefore, complementary and alternative therapies should not be
used in place of conventional medicine when an individual has an anaphylactic
This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to
the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
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- MedlinePlus. Anaphylaxis. www.nlm.nih.gov.
- Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
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- The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. www.foodallergy.org.
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