Anaphylactic Reaction in Children – Is it common?

How common is Anaphylactic Reaction in Children

Anaphylactic Reaction in Children is very common.

What is the term Anaphylactic Reaction

The term anaphylactic reaction is used to describe an allergic reaction by the body’s disease-fighting system (immune system).

Anaphylactic reaction is also called as Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening. This condition requires immediate medical attention and sometimes hospitalization.

What are the causes of Anaphylactic Reaction in Children ?

This condition is caused by exposure to a substance that your child is allergic to (allergen). In response to this exposure, the body releases proteins (antibodies) and other compounds, such as histamine, into the bloodstream. This causes swelling in certain tissues and loss of blood pressure to important areas, such as the heart and lungs.

What are the Common allergens that can cause Anaphylactic Reaction in Children ?

  • Foods, especially peanuts, wheat, shellfish, milk, and eggs.
  • Medicines.
  • Insect bites or stings.
  • Blood or parts of blood, including plasma, immunoglobulins, or serum.
  • Chemicals, such as dyes, latex, and contrast material that is used for medical tests.

What increases the risk of Anaphylactic Reaction in Children?

This condition is more likely to occur in children who:

  • Have allergies.
  • Have had anaphylaxis before.
  • Have a family history of anaphylaxis.
  • Have certain medical conditions, including asthma and eczema.

What are the signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis in children?

Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:

  • Feeling warm in the face (flushed). This may include redness.
  • Itchy, red, swollen areas of skin (hives).
  • Swelling of the eyes, lips, face, mouth, tongue, or throat.
  • Difficulty breathing, speaking, or swallowing.
  • Wheezing.
  • Dizziness or light-headedness.
  • Fainting.
  • Pain or cramping in the abdomen.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

How to diagnose anaphylaxis in children?

This condition is diagnosed based on a physical exam and your child’s recent history of exposure to allergens.

How is Anaphylactic Reaction in Children treated?

Your child’s health care provider may teach you:

  • How to use an anaphylaxis kit.
  • How to give your child an epinephrine injection using what is commonly called an auto-injector “pen” (pre-filled automatic epinephrine injection device).

If you think that your child is having an anaphylactic reaction, use the auto-injector pen or an anaphylaxis kit. If you use a kit or pen on your child, you must still get emergency medical treatment for your child.

Treatment in the hospital may include:

  • Medicines that help:
    • To tighten your child’s blood vessels (epinephrine).
    • To relieve itching and hives (antihistamines).
    • To reduce swelling (corticosteroids).
  • Oxygen therapy to help your child breathe.
  • IV fluids to keep your child hydrated.

Follow these instructions at home:

Safety

  • Always keep an auto-injector pen or an anaphylaxis kit near you and near your child. These can be lifesaving if your child has a severe anaphylactic reaction. Use the auto-injector pen or anaphylaxis kit as told by your child’s health care provider.
  • Make sure that you, the members of your household, your child’s teachers, daycare providers, and other caregivers know:
    • How to use an anaphylaxis kit.
    • How to use an auto-injector pen to give your child an epinephrine injection.
  • Replace the epinephrine immediately after you use the auto-injector pen, in case your child has another reaction.
  • Have your child wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace that states his or her allergy, if told by your child’s health care provider.
  • Learn the signs of anaphylaxis and discuss them with your child.
  • Work with your child’s health care providers to make an anaphylaxis plan. Preparation is important.

General instructions

  • Give over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your child’s health care provider.
  • If your child has hives or a rash:
    • Give an over-the-counter antihistamine as told by your child’s health care provider.
    • Apply cold, wet cloths (cold compresses) to your child’s skin or give him or her a cool bath or shower. Avoid using hot water.
  • Tell any health care providers who care for your child that he or she has an allergy.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your child’s health care provider. This is important.

How to prevent Anaphylactic Reaction in Children ?

  • Help your child avoid allergens that have caused an anaphylactic reaction for him or her in the past.
  • When you are at a restaurant with your child, tell your server that your child has an allergy. If you are not sure if a menu item contains an ingredient that your child is allergic to, ask your server.

Get help right away if:

  • Your child develops symptoms of an allergic reaction. You may notice them soon after your child is exposed to a substance. Symptoms may include:
    • Flushed skin.
    • Hives.
    • Swelling of the eyes, lips, face, mouth, tongue, or throat.
    • Difficulty breathing, speaking, or swallowing.
    • Wheezing.
    • Dizziness or light-headedness.
    • Fainting.
    • Pain or cramping in the abdomen.
    • Vomiting.
    • Diarrhea.
  • You needed to use epinephrine on your child. Your child needs more medical care even if the medicine seems to be helping. This may include more doses of epinephrine. This is important because anaphylaxis may happen again within 72 hours (rebound anaphylaxis).

These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Use the auto-injector pen or anaphylaxis kit as you have been instructed, and get medical help for your child right away. Call your local emergency services.

Summary

  • An anaphylactic reaction (anaphylaxis) is a sudden, severe allergic reaction by the body’s defense system (immune system).
  • This condition can be life-threatening. If your child has an anaphylactic reaction, get medical help right away.
  • Your child’s health care provider may teach you how to use an anaphylaxis kit and how to use an auto-injector “pen” (pre-filled automatic epinephrine injection device) to give your child a shot.
  • Your child should always keep an auto-injector pen or allergy kit with him or her. These could save your child’s life. Use them as told by your child’s health care provider.
  • If you give your child epinephrine, you must still get emergency medical treatment for your child even if the medicine seems to be helping.