Anaphylaxis is an acute, potentially life-threatening syndrome — with multisystemic manifestations due to the rapid release of inflammatory mediators. In children, foods can be a significant trigger for immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated anaphylaxis. Milk, eggs, wheat, and soy (MEWS) as a group are the most common food allergens; however, peanuts and fish are among the most potent. In fact, children can develop anaphylaxis from the fumes of cooking fish or residual peanut in a candy bar.
Other common triggers include preservatives (in food and drugs), medications (antibiotics), insect venom (bee sting), and bioactive substances (eg, blood, blood products). Environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, and dust mites are a less common and infrequent cause of anaphylaxis. Non-IgE triggers include infection, opiates, radiocontrast dye, and exercise.
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Anaphylaxis vs anaphylaxis syndrome
Although the clinical presentation and management are the same, the term anaphylaxis generally refers to IgE-mediated reactions, whereas the term anaphylactoid generally refers to non–IgE-mediated reactions. The term anaphylaxis syndrome is best used to describe clinical symptoms and signs.