Dr Andrew Baker - Immunologist and Allergy Specialist - North Shore Auckland
Private Service, Allergy and Immunology, Internal Medicine
Anaphylaxis is often due to allergy (but not always). Patients experience a severe reaction which can involve skin rash, shortness of breath, dizziness or even loss of consciousness. Some patients can feel nauseated or get abdominal upset, vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
Treatment involves identifying the cause and avoiding it.
Causes include foods, insect stings and medications. A commonly missed cause is anaphylaxis due to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) such as Nurofen, Voltaren, Brufen etc.
Anaphylaxis can also be due to non-allergic causes as well such as exercise, cold temperatures or sudden water immersion, or be exacerbated by infective illness and alcohol.
Causes and co-factors must be identified. An accurate history of a patient's symptoms is the most important part of this, rather than large screens of tests which can be unreliable. This is why we have a 60 minute first appointment with all patients.
An action plan and supply of antihistamines will be provided and we will show you how to use an adrenalin autoinjector such as Epipen or Anapen, and where best to obtain them.