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Psychological burden of anaphylaxis and the fight for an EpiPen

Abstract

A university student with a background of atopy presented to her general practitioner (GP) 2 weeks following an episode of throat tightening and dizziness occurring after touching cashew nut to her lip. She took antihistamine medication immediately and went to sleep, fearing for her life. On waking, she felt astounded to be alive. Her symptoms resolved gradually over the following week. She waited 2 weeks for an appointment with her GP, who referred her to allergy clinic. Eight months later, she was still waiting for her clinic appointment, and was left fearing a future fatal reaction, having been provided with no interim treatment. Not all patients who have severe allergic reactions present to the emergency department. Living with the constant fear of anaphylaxis can be overwhelming for patients and their families, and it can negatively impact mental health. Therefore, we advise early allergy counselling and early EpiPen prescription.

  • general practice / family medicine
  • healthcare improvement and patient safety
  • immunology
  • allergy
  • asthma

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