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Anaphylaxis has been about for a long, long time. It's not just something that's new. However, in recent years, it's become a lot more of a problem. Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction. This allergic reaction is when you ingest something, it could be eating peanuts when you get something injected into you, which could be a bee sting or a wasp sting, or maybe you inhale something, a chemical or a product which is going to cause a reaction. Now, in the average person, if they get stung by a bee, maybe they get stung on their hand, what will happen then is the hand will then swell up and they have local pain, local discomfort, and that will be the problem. It's very uncomfortable, but it's quite straightforward. However, somebody who has an anaphylactic reaction will have other signs and symptoms. Not only will it have the local pain where the actual bee has stung them, but also their throat will start to swell. They will have lots of other signs and symptoms which are going to cause them problems in breathing.

This is going to be very, very stressful for them and they are going to have a lot of trouble breathing and they need to have emergency care very, very quickly. Looking back 10, 20 years ago, we wouldn't have had warnings on food about, "This product may contain nuts," or "possible allergens within the food." Whereas now, this has become much more of a problem. There's lots of thought into why this is a problem more now than it was, maybe 20 years ago. 20 years ago cases of anaphylaxis, there were people with allergies, but also wasp stings, bee stings were a problem, but not quite to the extreme, it is now. Now, we always have every food you've got, you can look at the food, you can actually see there, it will say, "May contain nuts or traces of nuts." You might hear announcements on aeroplanes where someone has got a severe allergic reaction to peanuts and they are saying that they are not actually... They're asking people not to actually consume nuts on the plane. Generally speaking, it's much more of a problem.

Some of the lifestyle changes that have happened are the houses we live in. Houses are a lot more controlled now in temperature, humidity, whereas the houses before would have had open cracks in the windows, problems there, draughts. Whereas now we are in much more of a controlled environment. Central heating can also cause problems. The wider array of foods that people can consume. Now, the average shopping basket, you will get foods which are out of season. Other substances from all around the world. So there are lots of different ideas within what causes this. And it also links within anaphylaxis, it links with asthma, which is also a problem which is increasing. Although in this course, we're going to be talking about the different treatment methods that are available, you would still need to call the emergency services. Anaphylaxis is something that comes on very, very quickly. You can give the auto-injector and they can seem to feel better very, very quickly. But this is still a 999 emergency, even if the person appears to be much better.