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Health Information > Condition Information > Allergic Conditions > Anaphylaxis > Prevention
Reviewed on 7/12
By Dr. Alam
Rafeul Alam, MD, PhD
Dept. of Medicine
Chief, Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology
View full profile
There are a few ways to help prevent anaphylaxis.
Allergen Avoidance: To prevent anaphylaxis, it is important to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction. That may not be easy since stinging insects can find their way indoors and allergenic foods can be concealed in a wide variety of food products. If certain exercises trigger anaphylaxis, you may have to avoid those forms of exercise and/or modify them in consultation with your allergist-immunologist. Learn how to avoid certain allergens.
Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy): For many people, allergy shots can help lower the risk of anaphylaxis and decrease the severity of reactions. For example, allergy shots for bee, wasp, hornet and yellow jacket stings give effective protection 98 percent of the time. There is some risk when an individual with past episodes of anaphylaxis is injected with an allergen, and the doctor's office should be ready to treat any anaphylaxis reaction.
Medication Testing and Changes: If allergy shots are not practical or available for a particular allergen, the doctor has other options. For example, if someone has experienced an anaphylactic reaction to penicillin, the physician might order skin tests before giving certain other types of antibiotics. In most cases, different classes of antibiotics are available. People with a history of severe reactions to medicines should take a new medication orally (by mouth) whenever possible because the risk of anaphylaxis is higher with an injection. Rarely, someone may get an infection that requires treatment with an antibiotic known to cause anaphylaxis in that individual. In this case, your allergist/immunologist may perform a procedure called desensitization. This involves administration of rapidly increasing oral (by mouth) doses of the antibiotic under carefully controlled conditions.
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