Anaphylaxis is an acute, multiorgan, life-threatening allergic reaction. Initial symptoms may look like a normal allergy with runny nose or rash and usually occur within minutes of exposure to an allergen. Within a few minutes, symptoms get more severe and can be deadly if not treated. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention.
Anaphylaxis is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to a particular allergen. Triggers may be different for each person, but the most common triggers are peanuts, insect stings, latex, shellfish and eggs, and medications such as penicillin.
Restore effective breathing pattern and improved ventilation and maintain hemodynamic stability
Anaphylaxis Nursing Care Plan
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Stomach cramping
- Shortness of breath
- The feeling of impending doom
- Rash, hives (usually itchy)
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Swollen throat
- Hoarse voice
- Pale or red color to the face and body
Nursing Interventions and Rationales
- Administer epinephrine or EpiPen autoinjector if available
Antihistamines are not adequate to treat true anaphylaxis. Administer epinephrine or EpiPen immediately.
- Remove antigen/causative allergen
If medication is the trigger, discontinue the medication immediately; remove, but do not squeeze the stinger of an insect
- Initiate IV access and maintain patency
Medications and fluids will need to be given quickly. IV access allows uniform and quick dosing.
- Monitor airway and oxygenation status; prepare for intubation or tracheostomy if necessary to maintain airway
The swelling of the throat may be caused by acute inflammation. Airway obstruction is the most common manifestation of anaphylaxis and can be fatal. Monitor ABG and oxygen saturation.
Anaphylaxis may occur quickly and result in cardiac or respiratory arrest. Provide CPR or rescue breathing as necessary
- Position patient upright in high-Fowler’s position if conscious
Positioning is to lessen airway obstruction and encourage optimal gas exchange by promoting maximum chest expansion.
- Monitor vital signs; assess for signs of shock
A drop in blood pressure and elevation of heart rate are signs of shock.
- Administer medications as appropriate
Medications are given for vasoconstriction and to reverse the effects of histamine. Albuterol may be given to reverse histamine-induced bronchospasm.
- Educate patient regarding avoidance of allergens; how to use EpiPen
Teach patient to read nutrition labels and the importance of wearing a Medic Alert bracelet to prevent future anaphylactic reactions. Patients should have EpiPen available and be aware of how to use it.
Cornell Note-Taking System Instructions:
- Record: During the lecture, use the note-taking column to record the lecture using telegraphic sentences.
- Questions: As soon after class as possible, formulate questions based onthe notes in the right-hand column. Writing questions helps to clarifymeanings, reveal relationships, establish continuity, and strengthenmemory. Also, the writing of questions sets up a perfect stage for exam-studying later.
- Recite: Cover the note-taking column with a sheet of paper. Then, looking at the questions or cue-words in the question and cue column only, say aloud, in your own words, the answers to the questions, facts, or ideas indicated by the cue-words.
- Reflect: Reflect on the material by asking yourself questions, for example: “What’s the significance of these facts? What principle are they based on? How can I apply them? How do they fit in with what I already know? What’s beyond them?
- Review: Spend at least ten minutes every week reviewing all your previous notes. If you do, you’ll retain a great deal for current use, as well as, for the exam.
For more information, visit www.nursing.com/cornell