Angioedema is a sign of an allergic reaction. Combined with swelling of the tongue and throat, it can cause choking. It can sometimes be associated with anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening emergency.
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These are the symptoms to look for in early treatment.
What is Quincke’s edema ?
Angioedema, or angioedema, is a rapid swelling of the skin and mucous membranes in the head and neck area, usually associated with an allergic or inflammatory reaction.
“Angioedema is mainly the consequence of an allergic reaction to an ingested food or an inoculated substance,” explains Dr. Madiha Ellaffi, a pulmonologist and allergist.
“Therefore, it can be a food allergy (peanuts, nuts, shellfish …), a reaction to a drug or treatment (antibiotic, anti-inflammatory …) or an insect sting (wasp, bee …). It is also increasingly blamed on latex allergy.
It is usually found on the face, lips and eyelids.
Its onset is abrupt, extending from the skin to the throat and larynx and can cause difficulty in swallowing, with tongue and throat swelling that can lead to choking.
Intense itching on the soles of the feet can alert
Edema and anaphylactic shock
Angioedema can be associated with anaphylactic shock, but anaphylactic shock without angioedema can also occur. They are two different things.
Anaphylactic shock is the most serious allergic reaction, and can be fatal. It is an immediate and widespread reaction that occurs in four severe stages. It goes from stage I (giant hives) to stage IV (circulatory and/or respiratory arrest).
“One of the first symptoms patients experience is palmar-plant itching, which manifests itself as intense itching on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands,” describes Dr. Ellaffi. “This is followed by a feeling of discomfort induced by a drop in blood pressure.
Then it is necessary to react urgently”.
Diagnosis: puncture tests and IgE assays
It begins with an allergological investigation to determine the possible allergens responsible for the crisis.
Then, most frequently, two types of tests are proposed to confirm this: skin tests or puncture tests, performed with purified allergenic extracts that are penetrated intradermally with a lancet in the forearm.
Ideally, these puncture tests should be confirmed with an IgE assay using a blood sample.
What to do?
Quincke’s edema is an emergency case, it is necessary to react as soon as the first symptoms appear. If it is a first attack, call 15 and follow the instructions given by phone.
If it is a recurrence, the doctor will have previously prescribed an auto-injectable adrenaline syringe to have it always at hand, it is the first thing to do.
Then you can take corticosteroids, ventolin and then oral antihistamines in order.
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