10 Minute consultation: Anaphylaxis
- By: Aziz Sheikh, Samantha Walker
A 60 year old man attends to discuss his recent allergic reaction to an insect sting. He presents you with the casualty letter that reads, “Treated for anaphylaxis after bee sting—see general practitioner for follow-up.”
What happened, and was this anaphylaxis?—The term anaphylaxis refers to an acute, potentially life threatening, systemic allergic disorder that involves the cardiovascular or respiratory system, or both.
How quickly did the reaction develop?—Symptoms of anaphylaxis typically begin within minutes of exposure. The quicker the onset of symptoms, the more severe the clinical reaction is likely to be. Early features include flushing, urticaria, and intense anxiety (often described as “a feeling of impending doom”).
What treatment did he receive?—Ask whether he received adrenaline and the effect it had.
Was wasp or bee venom the trigger?—Differentiating between anaphylaxis induced by wasp venom or bee venom is important for giving advice on how best to minimise risk of