Anaphylaxis is a rapid-onset, severe allergic reaction and occurs in children and adults and is estimated to affect between 3.3 and 43 million Americans. With an economic burden in the United States of $307 million for direct medical costs and $203 million more for indirect costs, identifying the top four ways to be safe from anaphylaxis is essential.
Certain foods, insect stings, various drugs and latex material are the most common triggers of anaphylaxis that can evolve rapidly into life-threatening problems involving the blocked airways, breathing difficulties, drop in blood pressure, rapid heart rate and often skin swelling and hives.
Asthmatics with food allergies may be at increased risk for having a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to food. Individuals with a personal or family history of allergic conditions, including eczema or hay fever also have increased risk of having anaphylaxis in a future allergic reaction.
The Mayo Clinic created a video campaign to help people understand the top four ways to be SAFE. In a campaign that explains what happens during anaphylaxis, the reminder to be SAFE stands for: Seek support, Allergen, Follow up, and Epinephrine.
Seek Support during anaphylaxis reminds people to contact emergency support as even mild symptoms can rapidly become life-threatening and even reoccur hours later. Whenever possible, it is important to identify the allergen that caused the initial reaction to ensure appropriate treatment and avoidance management for the future. After the emergency event is resolved, scheduling a follow up visit with a healthcare professional who is an allergy specialist will help address any further health issues and ensure that the individual has proper access to emergency therapy and instructions for managing anaphylaxis risks.
The mainstay of an effective response for an anaphylactic episode is injection therapy with epinephrine. During an anaphylactic episode, the individual can take the drug using an autoinjector (EpiPen, EpiPen Jr or Twinject). In January 2013, a new prescription product, Auvi-Q™ (epinephrine injection, USP), became available in US to treat anaphylaxis. Auvi-Q is an epinephrine auto-injector with audio and visual cues that talks patients and caregivers step-by-step through the injection process.
Population studies have indicated that anaphylaxis risk may affect from 1.2% to 16.8% of the US population. There has been an increasing incidence of all types of anaphylaxis in recent years most likely due to the widespread use of certain products containing peanuts, a common food allergen and latex material in gloves and medical supplies.
The impact of this public health issue reinforces the need for Mayo Clinic’s Be Safe campaign to educate the community on the top four ways to be safe from anaphylaxis.