May 23, 2017
ARTICLE:

Let’s talk about anaphylaxis

By Dr Pinzon Charry

Anaphylaxis is the most severe and potentially dangerous type of allergic reaction. It is especially serious as it usually affects multiple bodily systems including skin (hives), respiratory (difficulty breathing), gastro-intestinal (vomiting) and cardiovascular (fainting, low blood pressure).

Most anaphylaxis sufferers experience symptoms within the first 2 hours of being exposed to the trigger, in others, a delayed reaction which rapidly becomes life threatening can occur. Anaphylaxis in young children can be particularly difficult to recognise. Signs to watch for include noisy breathing, voice hoarseness, persistent cough or floppiness (usually after food exposure) – if a child in your care presents with any of these symptoms, urgent assessment and treatment is required.

In Australian children, the most common triggers of anaphylaxis come from food. Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy are responsible for more than 90 percent of reactions. Other common triggers include:

  • Reactions to insect stings from bees or wasps, bites from ticks or ants in susceptible individuals.
  • Medications are a rather rare cause of anaphylaxis in children however adults can experience severe reactions to antibiotics, pain killers or anaesthetic agents.

How to treat anaphylaxis

Any anaphylactic reaction must be treated as a medical emergency and requires urgent treatment and administration of adrenaline. The following procedure should be followed when managing an episode of anaphylaxis –

  • Lie the person flat, or if breathing is difficult allow the person to sit
  • Give adrenaline by intramuscular injection using an adrenaline autoinjector (Epipen) if available
  • Call an ambulance on 000 (Australia)
  • Call for assistance/family/emergency contacts

Whilst antihistamines can be used to treat mild or moderate allergic reactions, antihistamines have no role in treating or preventing anaphylaxis. Adrenaline is always required.

We know that in children with fatal or near-fatal anaphylaxis the combination of food allergy and asthma is usually present. Therefore, if a child with known asthma and food (insect/medication) allergy has sudden breathing difficulty, adrenaline should be given immediately followed by their usual asthma medication.

For further information visit www.allergy.org.au or www.allergyfacts.org.au and seek expert medical advice.

 


If your child is experiencing regular symptoms or side effects from anaphylaxis, it may be time to seek paediatric specialist care. Make an appointment with Dr Pinzon Charry, call 07 3177 2000 or use the booking form to make an appointment.


Have you used our service? We are always looking for ways to improve so please take the time to complete our survey.

 

What does a developmental ...
Have you ever wondered why your child does things that just don’t seem right or exhibits behaviour that you haven’t observed in other ...
What's the difference between a ...
General paediatricians can treat (or are involved in the care of) most medical and developmental problems in children; it's a skillset in itself ...
Easter holiday programs
Easter holiday programs. Holiday workshops are a great way to break up seemingly endless days at home, while at the same time providing a fantastic ...
Tummy Pain in children
Nothing worse for a parent than knowing your child is in pain or ill and not knowing what to do about it or whether to worry.  Tummy pain is a very ...
HEAD LICE (AND NITS)
So was contemplating what health topic I might blog about today and was scrolling back through past posts. My thought process was, “Ooooh!! I ...
Autistic Spectrum Disorder – ...
Hi there everyone, Here is the long anticipated “Part 2” to our enthralling article on Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Had an absolutely epic ...
Autistic Spectrum Disorder – ...
So it’s a big couple of weeks for parents and kids hasn’t it?  School has gone back for the year and things are returning to normal after what ...
Sleep problems
Sooooooo on the topic of “restfulness” – many of my patient’s parents and friends struggle with their children’s sleep (or lack thereof) and ...
Iron deficiency
Well hello again everyone! So today I thought I’d let you guys know about iron deficiency in children.  Quite a few bloggees recently ...
Mummy (parental) guilt
Hello again all you awesome peeps out there that look after little people. Today I am going to blog about “Mummy guilt.” If you are a dad, or ...
Screen time and electronic device ...
Helloooooooo there parents and carers! Electronic screens and “smart” devices.  Smart phones/iPhones, iPads, tablet android computers… These ...
Does my child need to see a ...
The first five years of your child’s life are critical for brain development. Early stimulation from all senses create the foundations for learning ...
Failure to thrive
The term “Failure to Thrive” is enough to strike fear in a parent or carer’s heart… Or at least it does in mine (but then, I’m an Asian mum ...
Itchy girls bits (vulvovaginitis)
So a really good mate of mine (who I haven’t caught up with for aaages – sorry Vick!!) texted me and suggested that I blog about thrush in little ...
National Disability Insurance ...
As many of you may be aware, the NDIS has started its roll out throughout Queensland. In fact there are over 7,000 people enrolled in Queensland ...
Constipation (part two)
Hi again mums and dads! So to continue on from where we left off last week on this “hard” topic (ha ha!), we were going to discuss the ...
Constipation (part one)
So I promised I would try to blog about constipation today.  I like to try to keep these blog posts relatively SHORT, so they are easy enough to ...
Sore throats
Sore throats are pretty common.  You know that ache of the start of a sore throat when it begins and you groan as you realise what is coming right?  ...
Being sun smart with kids
It is no news to Queenslanders that Australia is the “skin cancer capital of the world” – something we have all heard more than once.  But did ...
Excessive screen use and our kids
With advancing technology, our children seem to be spending more and more time using screens. The American academy of Paediatrics recommends NO ...