Meaning of Anaphylaxis


A Greek word came to French as anaphylaxie, which in turn led to anaphylaxis in our language. The concept refers to a reaction of the organism that is linked to a hypersensitivity to certain substances.

Anaphylaxis appears when the individual, after having made contact with an organic substance, does it again, suffering different disorders in his body. In this way, anaphylaxis resembles an allergy, although its consequences are usually more serious.

Anaphylaxis can be said to be an immune reaction developed by the body before a bite, food or drug, to name a few possibilities.

French Charles Robert Richet (1850 – 1935) won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1913 for his research on anaphylaxis. Richet discovered that contact with an antigen could create an immunization (phylaxis) or the opposite effect (anaphylaxis). In this way, before a new contact even in lower doses, anaphylaxis can cause an exaggerated sensitivity that leads to the death of the person.

Foods like shellfish, dairy products, and legumes; anesthetic, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drugs; and poisons that certain insects develop can cause anaphylaxis. The most serious condition is known as anaphylactic shock.

Anaphylaxis can be triggered in a few seconds, and in the long list of symptoms that characterize it we find the following:

* cutaneous manifestations, such as redness of the skin, pruritus and urticaria;
* deep feeling of anxiety;
* tightness or discomfort in the chest;
* airway congestion, leading to some difficulty breathing and problems such as breath sounds (wheezing) and cough;
* bronchospasm;
* palpitations;
* trouble swallowing your own saliva and food;
* diarrhea;
* nausea and vomiting;
* headache;
* inflammation of the face in general, of the tongue and of the eyes;
* vertigo and dizziness;
* arrhythmia;
* difficulties articulating words when speaking;
* loss of consciousness;
* hypotension.

When asked about a supposed case of anaphylaxis, the doctor examines the patient and asks him a series of questions to try to find the cause of the problem. If this is not evident, it is always possible to order tests for the allergen responsible for the reaction.

It is very important to highlight that anaphylaxis is considered an emergency, and for this reason it is necessary to require professional help as soon as it is detected. Lack of treatment can lead to a collapse of the circulatory system or a fatal obstruction of the airways.

If we are with someone who is suffering from anaphylaxis, we must check their airways, listen to the sound of their breathing and control their blood circulation. Dysphonia, a hoarse voice, or sounds during inhalation may be signs of severe swelling in the throat.

Another essential step is to call the emergency number for immediate medical assistance. While the doctors arrive, we must try to reassure the patient. If it is a reaction to a bee sting, we can use a stiff object to remove the stinger from the skin; it is important not to use tweezers, since the pressure can generate a greater release of venom.

In some cases, the patient carries a specific medication for an anaphylaxis picture; If so, we should help you take it, although if you have difficulty breathing it is preferable to avoid oral products.

Paramedics have different means to assist the person as soon as they arrive at the scene, such as placing a tube through the nostrils or mouth, or directly through the trachea after performing emergency surgery. Already in the hospital, the doctor can supply chemical mediators, act on hemodynamics and supply oxygen.