Feb 7, 2013
Anaphylaxis is common in children and has many differences across age groups. A systematic review of the literature from the past 5 years was conducted with the goal of updating the pediatrician. Food is the most common trigger in children, but insect venom and drugs are other typical causes. Clinical diagnostic criteria include dermatological, respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal manifestations. A biphasic reaction is seen in some, with recurrence usually within 8 hours of the initial episode. Epinephrine is the drug of choice for acute reactions and the only medication shown to be lifesaving when administered promptly, but it is underutilized. Patients should have ready access to ≥2 doses of an epinephrine autoinjector, with thorough training regarding correct use of a given device and an emergency action plan. Management of anaphylaxis in schools presents distinct challenges. Pediatricians are in a unique position to assess and treat these patients chronically.