Anaphylaxis, also called anaphylactic shock, is a severe and sometimes life-threatening reaction to an allergen (the items that your child is allergic to are called allergens). It is a medical emergency, in most cases. The reaction to the allergen can occur seconds to as long as an hour after the exposure. It is necessary to have come in contact with the allergen at a previous time for sensitization to occur.

What causes anaphylaxis in children?

Anaphylaxis is caused by exposure to an allergen. The type of allergen may be different for every child. Some of the most common causes include the following:

  • Medications, especially penicillin
  • Foods
  • Food additives
  • Dyes used for medical procedures
  • Injections

What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?

The following are the most common symptoms of children's anaphylaxis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Tightness or swelling of the throat
  • Severe itching of the skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Lowered blood pressure

The symptoms of anaphylaxis may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

Treatment for anaphylaxis in children:

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Your child needs immediate medical attention. Your child's physician will probably treat him/her with an injection of epinephrine, which will help stop the severe effects caused by the allergen. If your child does have an anaphylactic reaction to an allergen, his/her physician may instruct you on the use of an emergency kit that contains epinephrine to have near your child in case of future episodes. Discuss this with your child's physician.

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