Anaphylaxis, Urticaria and Angioedema

Emily W. Langley and Joseph Gigante,
Pediatrics in Review 2013;34;247, DOI: 10.1542/pir.34-6-247

Anaphylaxis, Urticaria and AngioedemaAnaphylaxis is a sudden allergic reaction triggered by a sudden release of mast cells and basophils. It is a life threatening condition requiring emergency treatment. Signs and symptoms include throat swelling/closing, trouble breathing and/or swelling of lips, face and tongue. Other symptoms include flushing, hives, itching, cough, wheezing, abdominal cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness. Usually signs/symptoms occur within 1 hour of consumption or exposure.

The most common cause of anaphylaxis is food sources. This includes peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish. Medications such as penicillin, other antibiotics, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (like ibuprofen) are common causes as well. Stinging insects such as wasps, bees, hornets, yellow jackets and fire ants cause allergic reactions due to venom. Other causes include latex, metals, balloons, radiographic IV contrast dye and vaccine components. Exercise can co-trigger allergic responses usually within 4-6 hours of exposure to an allergen.

Epinephrine is the gold standard treatment for anaphylaxis and should be administered immediately. Diagnosis of anaphylaxis is based promptly on quick recognition of signs/symptoms. 911 should always be activated as this is a life threatening condition. Children can be tested for allergies through bloodwork and skin prick testing. For less severe allergic reactions such as hives, itchy skin or mild swelling over the counter antihistamines such as Claritin can be given. All reactions in children should be evaluated by a pediatrician.

About author MacKoul Pediatrics

MacKoul Pediatrics is an amazing local pediatrics office in Cape Coral, FL where caring, compassionate doctors and nurses work with you to keep your children as healthy as possible. MacKoul cares for children from birth to college age, from Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond.

January 29, 2014