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Final paper on: Anaphylaxis


29 November 2010


      Anaphylaxis is one of the most dangerous allergic reactions, which can be a life-threatening emergency.   It comes from the Greek words: ava (against) and phylaxis (protection).
It is simply defined as an exaggerated allergic reaction to a foreign protein resulting from previous exposure to it. It can be described as ‘an acute allergic response resulting in respiratory failure, pump failure, vasodilation, capillary leakage, and tissue damage’ (Eaton 1999) Although severe cases of anaphylaxis can occur within seconds or even minutes of exposure and be fatal if untreated, many reactions are milder and can be treated with prompt medical therapy.
      There are many types of anaphylactic allergic reactions. Anaphylaxis can be triggered by foods: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Drugs: penicillin (being the number one in medications), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen), cephalosporin, morphine, human papilloma-virus vaccination (HPV), local and general anesthesia, anti-arthritic drugs, IV contrast dye, and anti-seizure medications. Venom from stings/bites: honeybees, bumblebees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. Over exertion which is an ‘exercise-induced anaphylaxis (EIA) is a unique subset of anaphylactic reactions’ (Malde B., ‭ & ‬Ditto ‬A.‭ ‬2004‭)‬ and latex, studies show that some people with a latex allergy will also develop reactions when eating foods that cross-react with latex, such as bananas, kiwi, avocados, European chestnuts, and, less commonly, potatoes, tomatoes, and peaches, plums, cherries, and other pitted fruits. ‘Peanuts are a frequent cause of food allergy and the most common cause of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis in the U.S.’ (Finkelman FD 2010)
      The immune system plays a vital role in protecting the body from infection. Anaphylactic shock occurs as a result of the...


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