When my Immune System Overreacted

An Unexpected Turn of Events from a Simple Allergic Reaction!

“She’s had an Anaphylactic Shock, we recommend moving her to the ICU immediately” says the doctor. That’s what my sister came and told me while I lay in the Emergency ward of the hospital.

Anaphylactic Shock – what on earth is that, I wondered as I looked up at my sister while she was already googling the term in her phone. 

Shivering as I was even under three blankets, I prodded a little nervously, “What does it mean?” My BP was down to 60/40 but I was fully aware about everything happening to me with not an ounce of disorientation hitting me. Anaphylactic Shock sounded something terribly dangerous though I was more intrigued than afraid. Before my sister could respond, a medical orderly promptly arrived and changed my clothes into the hospital uniform for patients, which was not only drab but highly oversized – guess they have just one size, which is the biggest possible on earth!

Within a short while I was whisked away to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and before I realized I had all kinds of wires and attachments all over my body with several complicated machines beeping all around me. I was more curious than concerned. My roving eyes did a quick survey of everything around me, including the other patients making a mental note of the level of seriousness of each patient based on my level of understanding of how they appeared, and how many instruments were attached to them. I didn’t stop at that, the next day I enquired about every patient from my attending nurse.

Needless to say this was my first experience of being hospitalized.

Earlier that evening, I was back from a trek – my first trek in the Western Ghats. It was a Sunday, the 4th of June, 2017. Accompanied by a friend, I had gone for a weekend trek to Kudremukha National Park. We were dropped off at Majestic Bus Station, the main bus station at Bangalore. Mesmerized by the gorgeous Kudremukha hill, I did not have the slightest idea that in the next 10 minutes I would be getting into a life threatening situation. We had been travelling since morning with a lot of ‘Antakshari’, Dumb Charades, and other games all the way. As we bid goodbye to our fellow trekkers with promises of meeting again, we realized just how hungry we were.

It was already 8.00 PM and so we decided to have dinner before heading home. While crossing the road as we headed towards a ‘Biryani’ restaurant located across the street, we encountered the road divider. It was an enclosed area with trees and shrubs cordoned off by iron grills that stretched for quite a long distance. Our stomach was growling as we walked besides the divider towards its end to be able to cross over to the other side. In one place, we found the grill broken and people were passing through it jumping onto the other side of the road. With impatience getting the better of us, we decided to do the same even though it wasn’t the right thing to do. Unfortunately an inebriated man followed us. There was a tall tree beside us with shrubs and bushes around it. In my attempt to avoid the man, I stepped into the bushes. Immediately a swarm of insects attacked my bare feet through the open sandals I was wearing. I had mistakenly stepped into their habitat unable to see well through the dimly lit street lights.

I felt a thousand needles pricks accompanied by a burning sensation on my feet. Within seconds my body was covered with rashes.

Hurriedly, we walked towards the restaurant.

It was nothing but grace that we had a first aid kit with us that had antihistamine tablets (Avil). I popped a pill and cleaned my feet with Dettol. In the incidents that followed, I lost consciousness, puked the Avil, my feet became black and swelled beyond recognition, rashes of all dimensions covered my entire body including my face. My friend managed to get me to a hospital and also informed my sisters even though he had freaked out completely.

Back in the ICU, I felt dazed even as my alert mind continued scanning the space around me. I thought to myself and sent out a quick prayer that I never ever should need to get back here again.

Before being transferred to the ICU, while in the Emergency ward, I was treated with Adrenalin administered intravenously. It was in a diluted form but my body violently reacted almost causing a heart attack and threatening to blow my head apart. Adrenalin is the only treatment and my body was rejecting it.

In the ICU, however I was treated all night long with the concentrated form of Adrenalin administered intramuscularly. By morning my BP was doing much better. With the care and attention provided by the nurses and doctors my recovery was quick and I was shifted to a common ward and finally released from the hospital.

It was not until I came home that I got to know my condition could have been fatal, had it not been for the prompt medical attention I received.

I was lucky that I was getting back from a trek and so had a medical kit with me. Though it was surprising that nothing happened while I was in the jungle but in the city I had a fatalistic insect bite. Life is full of ironies!

An Anaphylactic Attack or Anaphylaxis is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to an allergen, something that the body is allergic to. It is an extremely serious and life threatening condition.

It’s by Almighty’s grace that I am here today narrating  what happened to me. The point of this write up is to spread awareness about allergic reactions. More than often, we do not pay heed to allergies but be on your guard, it could be the onset of an Anaphylactic Attack.

Read up and educate yourself about the risk factors of this potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called Anaphylaxis.



Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

13 thoughts on “When my Immune System Overreacted”

  1. This was a good and informative read. It’s shocking, in a way, to know that such a seemingly small incident could cause such a life-threatening condition – an anaphylactic shock, and as you said, an irony that it had to happen in the ‘safety’ of a city. You were really lucky. Hope you are doing well now.


    1. It was scary! The biggest takeaway was the allergies have the potential to kill you and that too very fast, something which I didn’t know before. People who are allergic in nature (even if you are allergic to one thing, you fall in that category) need to be cautious and pay heed to any allergic reactions that may happen.
      Thank you for reading 🙂


  2. Scary scary, luckily you reacted fast. And that happened in the city, what if something like that happens in remote places… Anti histamines didn’t help…
    I was checking based on the information you provided, and looks like there are things like adrenaline injectors. Do you know about those or if they should be part of outdoor safety kits?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think adrenaline injectors are part of outdoor safety kits, not in our country at least. I mean I haven’t heard of any yet. Also, getting yourself injected in case of an emergency may or maynot work. Like I mentioned my body reacted violently and then the same injection had to be administered differently. And this is possible only in a hospital. We just need to be aware if we are the allergic kind, like the doctor in the hospital had mentioned. Don’t try anything unknown when you know medical help cannot be easily obtained.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes true, saw some venom extractors, but seems like they don’t work, and indeed might cause more harm.
        Bad case this where the body’s immunity causes such harm, but in all possibilities you stepped on a wasp nest, so the venom in itself would have been bad enough already, then the overreaction of the body. Well… Good that it’s past, but yes, at times I do get allergies, and consume Allegra spontaneously. So helpful to know that the body’s reactions should be watched, and seek timely help if things look amiss.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You know what the doctors had then told me that people can either be allergic or non-allergic. You belong to the former category if you are allergic to even a single entity. You will know only when you are exposed to it. That’s why if you have any kind of allergy, you need to be a little cautious as you wouldn’t know what your the allergens are unless you are exposed to it.
          And, I think I had stepped on to an ant nest – the stinging red ants.

          Liked by 1 person

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