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Patient Education

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a rare but life-threatening allergic reaction that affects many parts of the body at once. Like other allergic reactions, anaphylaxis is the body's overreaction to a foreign substance that ordinarily is harmless. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include flushing, hives, swelling of lips or tongue, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, a decrease in blood pressure and ultimately, loss of consciousness.

These symptoms can occur within minutes of exposure to the offending allergen but also can develop after 30 minutes or more. In some cases, a delayed reaction may occur eight to 12 hours after the initial reaction. If symptoms develop quickly, the condition is more likely to be severe and potentially fatal.

What causes anaphylaxis?

Food is the most common trigger for anaphylaxis. Severe allergic reactions to foods such as peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds and cashews), fish, shellfish, cow's milk and eggs account for about half of all anaphylaxis cases and 100 U.S. deaths each year.

Stings from insects such as bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets and fire ants are the cause of about 500,000 allergy-related emergency room visits each year and at least 40 U.S. deaths from anaphylaxis.

Medications also can cause anaphylaxis, especially penicillin. Other commonly used medications that can trigger anaphylaxis include aspirin, anesthetics, antibiotics and pain relievers like ibuprofen.
Latex can trigger an allergic reaction. Latex is commonly found in medical products such as disposable gloves, syringes, stethoscopes and adhesive tapes.

Sometimes, doctors cannot pinpoint the cause of anaphylaxis. When a specific trigger cannot be found, it is said to be idiopathic anaphylaxis, meaning anaphylaxis without known cause.

What is the management for anaphylaxis?

  • Epinephrine. Always carry epinephrine with you and know how to administer it.
  • Wear a medical bracelet listing what causes your symptoms.
  • Avoidance. The most effective way to prevent anaphylaxis is to avoid what caused it.
  • Knowledge. Know what to do if you unexpectedly come into contact with your trigger. Dr. Roth can help prepare a detailed plan outlining emergency care.
  • Teach your family and friends how to help you if you begin to have anaphylaxis and cannot help yourself.

Contact

Lisa Roth, MD
10 Union Ave. Suite 11A&B
Lynbrook, NY 11563
Office: 516-599-6910
Fax: 516-612-3402

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Testimonials

  • When a local ENT first referred me to Dr. Roth several years ago, I was dependent upon Allegra pills and Nasacort nasal spray to function throughout the day -- and not comfortably. Now, with monthly visits to Dr. Roth for allergy shots, I no longer... View More..
    Adam from Long Beach, NY

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    Joy from Oceanside, NY

  • I have been under the care of Dr. Lisa Roth for many years. Sadly, I have severe allergies to almost everything that a person breathes in. Luckily, because of Dr. Roth, I am able to enjoy a normal life including taking long walks outdoors – even... View More..
    Laurie from Lynbrook, NY

  • Several years ago, at the age of sixty, I was diagnosed with allergy induced asthma. At times, I would struggle for breath and experience intense wheezing in my chest. I then found Dr. Lisa Roth and after a thorough diagnosis, began receiving... View More..
    John from Long Beach, NY

  • Due to Dr. Roth’s professional care, it took only a few visits before I noticed a dramatic improvement in my allergy symptoms. Dr. Roth was very informative concerning my allergies and the progress made throughout my visits. As a professional, I... View More..
    Alan from Valley Stream, NY

  • The level of care offered by Dr. Roth is exceptional. Her concern and expertise is evident the moment you meet her. The migraine headaches I used to suffer during the spring pollen season are now just a memory. Dr. Roth’s office hours allow even... View More..
    Tom from Lynbrook, NY

  • When I came back from a trip abroad in 2011, my allergies became unbearable. I was constantly congested and coughing, my asthma would act up daily and I would get a sinus infection or a cold every month even though I was taking allergy medicine... View More..
    Kathryn from Lynbrook, NY