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Allergies Health Center

Understanding Anaphylaxis -- Prevention

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How Can I Prevent Anaphylaxis?

If you are allergic to insect stings or any of the foods that are common causes of anaphylaxis or if you have ever had an anaphylactic reaction:

  • Ask your doctor how to avoid your allergens and what to do if you have an allergic reaction, especially a severe reaction.
  • Tell your health care providers, including your dentist, about your allergies before accepting any medication, especially injections.
  • Always remain in your doctor's office the full amount of time your doctor says after receiving any injection. Report any unusual reaction immediately.
  • Wear a Medic Alert bracelet or pendant that lets others know about your allergies.
  • If you're allergic to insect stings, wear protective clothing when outside. Avoid shiny clothing or jewelry, which can attract insects, and cover sugary drinks.
  • If you're allergic to any food, be assertive about seeking detailed information from food manufacturers, restaurant staff, and dinner hosts about ingredients.
  • Keep two epinephrine injection kits with you at all times and readily available. Be sure your family, friends, and colleagues know how to use the kit if you have a reaction.
  • If the person at risk is a child, make sure the child's teachers, friends' parents, and any other caregivers know how to use the child's kit in an emergency and that the kit is always with the child and readily available at all times.
  • Know the symptoms of a severe reaction, and reach for the epinephrine if you think you are beginning to show signs of a having one. Do not hesitate to use your epinephrine if you suspect an anaphylactic reaction. Waiting to take the shot is a key issue in patients who have poor outcomes.
  • Ensure that your epinephrine is up to date and has not expired. Epinephrine typically has a one year shelf life.
  • Ask an allergist if you can obtain desensitization therapy for the offending allergen. This therapy is available for insect stings and drugs such as penicillin when appropriate.

Call your doctor or 911 (in the U.S.) immediately if you have any symptoms of anaphylaxis. This is an emergency. Call for emergency medical help.

Understanding Anaphylaxis

Find out more about anaphylaxis:

Basics

Symptoms

Diagnosis and Treatment

Prevention

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on March 16, 2014

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