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Recognize the symptoms of
anaphylaxis and know
how to respond.

Anaphylaxis is an emergency medical condition that can quickly progress after initial symptom onset. Learn more about its prevalence, prevention guidelines, as well as why and how to respond.

Anaphylaxis:
How common is the uncommon?

In the United States, the number of anaphylactic events has risen in recent years, and it is estimated 6 million children have food allergies.2,3

And, with data estimating food-related allergic emergencies sending, on average, someone to the hospital every three minutes, and peanut allergies becoming more prevalent in children, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms, as well as why and how to respond.2,4

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Risk factors for anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis can occur when susceptible individuals are exposed to certain allergens. Common allergens include food, insect stings and bites, medications, and latex.5,6

People with asthma and/or other allergies who have experienced severe allergic reactions are more likely to experience anaphylaxis—even if an offending allergen didn’t cause anaphylaxis in the past.5

Early symptoms of anaphylaxis can be mild, but quickly progress. These include5,7:

Because anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction, recognizing these symptoms, and their triggers, is critical.5

Have an Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan

Medical practice guidelines address both anaphylaxis prevention and the importance of using epinephrine5:

Work with your doctor to customize an Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan. There are several examples available online, including the following from Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

Start your plan

In the United States, >1/2 of fatal food allergic reactions occur outside the home and, when they occur, people are not always aware their food contained an allergen.8-10

When anaphylaxis occurs, epinephrine should be administered immediately11

Ticking clock

Anaphylactic reactions should be treated immediately with an injection of epinephrine.11 Epinephrine auto-injectors are available by prescription and should be kept nearby at all times.

Because multiple epinephrine injections may be necessary to help treat an anaphylactic reaction as they can be unpredictable, knowing how to use—and being ready to use—an epinephrine auto-injector could help save a life.5,8

Get the facts

When it comes to life-threatening allergies, there are a lot of misconceptions out there. But it’s important to separate fact from fiction, and deal with the realities of anaphylaxis, who it affects, and how often it really occurs.

Looks can be deceiving.

Looks can be deceiving.

MYTH: It can't be anaphylaxis if there are no visible skin symptoms like hives or rash.

Looks can be deceiving.

MYTH: It can't be anaphylaxis if there are no visible skin symptoms like hives or rash.

FACT: It's possible to experience anaphylaxis without skin symptoms.5 Other symptoms, like dizziness, low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing can occur without the presence of hives or rash.

FACT: It's possible to experience anaphylaxis without skin symptoms.5 Other symptoms, like dizziness, low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing can occur without the presence of hives or rash.

What it means

If you or someone you know with known risk of anaphylaxis has come into contact with an allergen, look for visible symptoms like skin rash. But be aware of the other potential symptoms of anaphylaxis as well. If any are present, rescue medication like epinephrine should be administered as soon as possible and emergency medical treatment should be sought.5

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Time is of the essence.

Time is of the essence.

MYTH: Anaphylaxis takes hours or days to occur.

Time is of the essence.

MYTH: Anaphylaxis takes hours or days to occur.

FACT: Anaphylaxis develops rapidly, with peak severity usually occurring within 5 to 30 minutes of contact with an allergen.12

FACT: Anaphylaxis develops rapidly, with peak severity usually occurring within 5 to 30 minutes of contact with an allergen.12

What it means

While you should always avoid allergens and understand the symptoms of anaphylaxis, when it occurs it's important to administer epinephrine right away, and to seek immediate emergency medical attention.

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Setting the record
straight on antihistamines.

Setting the record
straight on antihistamines.

MYTH: Some people think antihistamines are a good first response to anaphylaxis.

Setting the record
straight on antihistamines.

MYTH: Some people think antihistamines are a good first response to anaphylaxis.

FACT: Actually, epinephrine should be your initial response. You should then seek immediate emergency medical attention.5

FACT: Actually, epinephrine should be your initial response. You should then seek immediate emergency medical attention.5

What it means

Drugs like antihistamines have a delayed onset of action and do not treat all of the symptoms of anaphylaxis. That's why it's important to use epinephrine, which begins to work rapidly.13

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The cafeteria, the classroom, and beyond.

The cafeteria, the classroom, and beyond.

MYTH: Allergen avoidance should be focused on the classroom and cafeteria, where kids who are at risk are most likely to experience anaphylaxis.

The cafeteria, the classroom, and beyond.

MYTH: Allergen avoidance should be focused on the classroom and cafeteria, where kids who are at risk are most likely to experience anaphylaxis.

FACT: Anaphylaxis can happen anywhere, including in and around school. In fact, a study of allergic reactions in the school setting found that about 20% occurred outside the school building, such as on the playground, the bus, or on field trips.14

FACT: Anaphylaxis can happen anywhere, including in and around school. In fact, a study of allergic reactions in the school setting found that about 20% occurred outside the school building, such as on the playground, the bus, or on field trips.14

What it means

The care taken to avoid allergens inside the school should be the same care taken to avoid allergens outside the building. Bus drivers, chaperones, and other school staff should be allergen aware, and trained in case they’re called upon to administer epinephrine in the event of an allergic emergency.

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Peanuts. Another word for "smaller percentage than you may think."

Peanuts. Another word for "smaller percentage than you may think."

MYTH: Many Americans are allergic to peanuts.

Peanuts. Another word for "smaller percentage than you may think."

MYTH: Many Americans are allergic to peanuts.

FACT: Only about 0.6% of all Americans are allergic to peanuts, and 1.7% of children have a peanut allergy.13,15

FACT: Only about 0.6% of all Americans are allergic to peanuts, and 1.7% of children have a peanut allergy.13,15

What it means

Though peanut allergy prevalence is relatively low, recently this allergy has doubled among children.15 The result? The peanut itself has become a symbol of the condition more parents and children find themselves facing.

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Indication

AUVI-Q® (epinephrine injection, USP) is a prescription medicine used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in people who are at risk for or have a history of serious allergic reactions.

Important Safety Information

AUVI-Q is for immediate self (or caregiver) administration and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Seek immediate medical treatment after using AUVI-Q. Each AUVI-Q contains a single dose of epinephrine. AUVI-Q should only be injected into your outer thigh, through clothing if necessary. If you inject a young child or infant with AUVI-Q, hold their leg firmly in place before and during the injection to prevent injuries. Do not inject AUVI-Q into any other part of your body, such as into veins, buttocks, fingers, toes, hands, or feet. If this occurs, seek immediate medical treatment and make sure to inform the healthcare provider of the location of the accidental injection. Only a healthcare provider should give additional doses of epinephrine if more than two doses are necessary for a single allergic emergency.

Rarely, patients who use AUVI-Q may develop infections at the injection site within a few days of an injection. Some of these infections can be serious. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms at an injection site: redness that does not go away, swelling, tenderness, or the area feels warm to the touch.

If you have certain medical conditions, or take certain medicines, your condition may get worse or you may have more or longer lasting side effects when you use AUVI-Q. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, especially medicines for asthma. Also tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, especially if you have asthma, a history of depression, thyroid problems, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart problems or high blood pressure, have any other medical conditions, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Epinephrine should be used with caution if you have heart disease or are taking certain medicines that can cause heart-related (cardiac) symptoms.

Common side effects include fast, irregular or ‘pounding’ heartbeat, sweating, shakiness, headache, paleness, feelings of over excitement, nervousness, or anxiety, weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, or breathing problems. These side effects usually go away quickly, especially if you rest. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.