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Friday, February 20, 2015

Biggest cause of death from allergic reaction

(Shutterstock image)

Are you surprised to see a picture of medication?!

 I was when I read the story on Webmd!

I am allergic to seafood, and Son #2 is allergic to tree nuts. And I have read plenty of stories about people who are allergic to peanuts and have had a severe allergic reaction. In fact, some allergic reactions are so severe (anaphylaxis), that they can cause death. 

When I think of someone having an allergic reaction, I usually think they ate something that caused anaphylaxis. 

But not so fast!! 

In the Webmd article, a group of researchers looked at deaths certificates from 1999-2010 from the 
U. S. National Mortality Data Base. They found almost 2,500 deaths from anaphylaxis, and they tried to figure out what caused the deaths. 

The results of the study were surprising. They found that: 
  • 59% of deaths were from medications
  •  7 % were from food
  •  15% were from venom (insect bite or sting)
  • 19% didn't specify the cause
The study also says that:
"The drug that caused the reaction wasn't identified in 75 percent of the deaths. When the responsible drug was identified, it was an antibiotic in 40 percent of the cases, Jerschow found. The next most common allergy-inducing drugs were radiocontrast agents, which are used during diagnostic imaging tests, followed by chemotherapy medications to treat cancer, the study reported. "
Most MRIs and chemotherapy treatments are done in a hospital, so you should be able to get emergency care if that happens.

The important thing is to recognize anaphylaxis. Mayo Clinic says:

"Anaphylaxis symptoms usually occur within minutes of exposure to an allergen. Sometimes, however, anaphylaxis can occur a half-hour or longer after exposure. Anaphylaxis symptoms include":
  • "Skin reactions, including hives along with itching, and flushed or pale skin (almost always present with anaphylaxis)
  • A feeling of warmth
  • The sensation of a lump in your throat
  • Constriction of the airways and a swollen tongue or throat, which can cause wheezing and trouble breathing
  • A weak and rapid pulse
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting"
Mayo Clinic also says: "Seek emergency medical help if you, your child or someone else you're with has a severe allergic reaction."
Hopefully you won't ever experience anaphylaxis. But, I believe knowledge is power. So knowing what can cause a severe allergic reaction is helpful. I'll tuck the information in the back of my brain (and hope I never need to use it!)


  1. Whew I just had anaphylaxis the other day from eating cake balls made with soy milk at church. Soy is hidden everywhere, so I guess I won't eat anything if I can't see the ingredients. Luckily the bishop's wife recognized the symptoms and gave me my auvi-q and took me to the ER, she stayed with me until I was discharged and my home teachers came and gave me a blessing.

    1. How scary! It is so hard that I have to ask what's in every food. Anytime I go to an office party, church party, family party, etc.


  2. And now as I'm typing this im in the student health center being monitored because I was just given epinephrine for rebound anaphylaxis, after 2 days!!

    1. Oh wow! I hope you are okay. CDC has a section about anaphylaxis that said it can happen up to 2 days later.....yikes!

  3. I feel like more and more children and people have allergies to different substances than they did before. Luckily we have the right medication to help keep these people from getting really sick or dying. Think about it, without the asthma treatments we have now, there would be a lot of people who would have serious breathing problems.

    1. Yes, modern medicine saves lives! And I think more people recognize what the symptoms of allergies and asthma.

  4. And yet another rebound anaphylaxis, man today is not my day!! I'm going to the ER and I'm staying overnight