Anaphylaxis Campaign are celebrating their 25th anniversary of supporting people at risk of severe allergies with the 2019 Anaphylaxis Awareness Week.

Despite their extensive and continual efforts, there are still thousands of people across the UK who need the help and support of the charity, yet are not aware of the work they do. To enable the charity to increase their reach and improve the awareness of Anaphylaxis, they are asking us all to go orange for Anaphylaxis Awareness!

What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis (pronounced ana-fil-ax-is) is a severe and often sudden allergic reaction. It can occur when someone with allergies is exposed to something they are allergic to (known as an allergen). Reactions usually begin within minutes and rapidly progress but can occur up to 2-3 hours later.

The common causes of anaphylaxis include foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, shellfish, fish, sesame seeds and kiwi fruit, although many other foods have been known to trigger anaphylaxis. Non-food causes include wasp or bee stings, natural latex (rubber), and certain drugs such as penicillin. In some people exercise can trigger a severe reaction – either on its own or in combination with other factors such as food or drugs (e.g. aspirin).

Anaphylaxis is potentially life-threatening and always requires an immediate emergency response. It may affect more or one body system such as the sufferers' airways, heart, circulation, gut or skin. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • A dramatic fall in blood pressure.
  • Collapse, potentially leading to unconsciousness.
  • The person may become weak and floppy.
  • Widespread flushing of the skin.
  • Nettle rash (otherwise known as hives or urticaria).
  • Swelling of the skin (known as angioedema) anywhere on the body.
  • Swelling of the lips.
  • Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
  • The person may have a sense of something terrible happening.

Pre-loaded auto-injectors containing adrenaline (sometimes referred to as ‘pens’) are prescribed for people believed to be at risk of anaphylaxis. If someone is having a severe allergic reaction, it is vital that they receive an adrenaline injection and 999 is called immediately.

What can you do to help?

Whether you run, walk, dance, bungee-jump, hold a bake sale or coffee morning, or even take part in a talent contest, you can raise awareness about Anaphylaxis! Head to the charities fundraising page to see how you can help make a difference and raise awareness today.

In addition, if you or a loved one is at risk of anaphylaxis, wearing a piece of medical ID jewellery will keep you safe whilst also raising awareness. Click here to find out more about how MedicAlert can keep you or a loved one safe 24/7.

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