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Doctor insights on: Can You Die From Serum Sickness

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Can you die from serum sickness?

Can you die from serum sickness?

Unfortunately...Yes: Serum sickness got it's name from reactions after treatments with high doses of horse serum given for treatments snake bites or tetanus. Antibiotics can also cause this. The persons antibodies clump with the foreign serum proteins. These clumps (immune complexes) can clog small blood vessels in the skin, mucous membranes, joints, kidneys and intestines. Fulminant severe reaction can be fatal. ...Read more

Dr. Barbara Lavi
16 Doctors shared insights

Serum Sickness (Definition)

Serum sickness is a type of hypersensitivity reaction (type iii immune reaction) that occurs when the immune system develops antibodies to a foreign protein. The antibody and the foreign protein combine to form an immune complex (ic) that can settle in areas of the body such as the joints or the kidney. The ic can damage these areas and cause arthralgias ...Read more


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Can I die from serum sickness if I ignore it?

Can I die from serum sickness if I ignore it?

Yes: Serum sickness can lead to organ damage and vascular collapse if the offending agent is not stopped. Normally however it is a self-limited syndrome which resolves after the offending agent is removed. ...Read more

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What's serum sickness?

What's serum sickness?

Systemic allergic: Systemic allergic response in which antibody-antigen reaction in the blood stream causes systemic problems. ...Read more

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Can serum sickness be cured?

Can serum sickness be cured?

Yes: The most common treatment for serum sickness is discontinuation of the offending drug, combined with the use of both antihistamines and glucocorticoids. Withdrawal of the drug by itself is usually sufficient treatment for patients with mild symptoms. Fever and joint pains resolve within 48 hours. To prevent recurrence, the culprit drug should be avoided in the future, if possible. ...Read more

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How can I treat serum sickness?

How can I treat serum sickness?

Avoidance: Not much can be done specifically to treat serum sickness, other than avoiding the antigen that caused it in the first place. If there is significant joint or other inflammation, steroids can help reduce the symptoms while waiting for the reaction to go away. ...Read more

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Has anyone else had serum sickness?

Has anyone else had serum sickness?

Serum Sickness: Serum sickness is a reaction that is similar to an allergy. The immune system reacts to medications that contain injected proteins used to treat immune conditions. Or it can react to antiserum, the liquid part of blood that contains antibodies given to a person to help protect them against germs or poisonous substances. ...Read more

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Are the symptoms of serum sickness bad?

Are the symptoms of serum sickness bad?

Can be: Serum sickness usually causes fever, lymph node enlargement, arthritis, muscle pain, weakness, renal disease, severity of the disease would determine the severity of symptoms. ...Read more

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Has anyone ever heard of "serum sickness"?

Has anyone ever heard of "serum sickness"?

Systemic allergic: Systemic allergic response in which antibody-antigen reaction in the blood stream causes systemic problems. ...Read more

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Are some people more prone to getting serum sickness?

Are some people more prone to getting serum sickness?

Serum sickness: Classic serum sickness is caused by administration of a protein antigen from a non-human species. There have been some case reports implicating the drugs Rituximab and Infliximab (used to treat chron's disease and rheumatoid arthritis). Rarely, repeated blood transfusions, insect stings, and mosquito bites can cause serum sickness-type reactions. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: serum sickness?

What is the definition or description of: serum sickness?

Hypersensitivity: Serum sickness is a type of hypersensitivity reaction (type iii immune reaction) that occurs when the immune system develops antibodies to a foreign protein. The antibody and the foreign protein combine to form an immune complex (ic) that can settle in areas of the body such as the joints or the kidney. The ic can damage these areas and cause arthralgias and glomerulonephritis for example. ...Read more

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What are the differences between arthrus reaction and serum sickness?

What are the differences between arthrus reaction and serum sickness?

Similar: Both are type III hypersensitivity or allergic reactions that occur from antibody antigen complexes. The arthus reaction typically occurs after an injection into the skin and the reaction is vasculitis at the site. Serum sickness commonly follows an oral ingestion (like a drug) and symptoms are more general with fever, rash, joint aches, lymph node swelling and sometimes protein in the urine. ...Read more

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Can remicaide cause serum sickness and if so, how can I test for sensitivity to it?

Yes, and more: Remicade (infliximab), as any foreign protein, can cause a number of adverse effects. It is "humanized", meaning part of it comes from cells that originally were of mice. Our body can produce antibodies to Remicade in our blood that can be measured in specialty laboratories. Even if a patient develops such antibodies, there are ways to help tolerate Remicade or use alternative medications. ...Read more

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My 3 yr old had sever serum sickness in june. Her entire body swelled / joints had red marks. She still complains about pain. Is this common?

My 3 yr old had sever serum sickness in june. Her entire body swelled / joints had red marks. She still complains about pain. Is this common?

Yes-possible: Serum sickness is a self-limited disorder, ; symptoms resolve with time as the immune complexes are cleared from the system. The use of antihistamines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (nsaids), and corticosteroids helps to ameliorate the symptoms. Symptoms like your comment about pain can last 1-2 weeks. Nsaids are given to relieve this pain. See an allergist/immunologist if still concerned. ...Read more

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4yr old son has serum sickness, hives are getting worse and ankles are swollen, ive been giving him ben. And mot. Is there something else for itching?

4yr old son has serum sickness, hives are getting worse and ankles are swollen, ive been giving him ben. And mot. Is there something else for itching?

Doctor evaluation: If your son was diagnosed with serum sickness, and has lupus, his doctor is best to judge what he needs more, sometimes steroids might be added, but that's the doctor's judgement ...Read more

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I've taken three dosages of bactrum ds can I still end up having serum sickness? My left hand hurts right on the top. For no apparent reason. That's why I was wondering

I've taken three dosages of bactrum ds can I still end up having serum sickness? My left hand hurts right on the top. For no apparent reason. That's why I was wondering

NO: Serum sickness develops with sulfa drugs after a period (usually long term) of treatment!
FURTHERMORE serum sickness joint pain is SYMMETRICAL. ...not just with L hand/wrist!

Hope this helps!
Dr Z ...Read more

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Is it possible to have serum sickness without presence of fever? (3 yr old, onset 12 days after starting amoxicillin, itchy rash and swollen joints)

Is it possible to have serum sickness without presence of fever? (3 yr old, onset 12 days after starting amoxicillin, itchy rash and swollen joints)

Usually not possible: fever is present in almost all cases, could there be exceptions, yes, but also it could be something else other than serum sickness, hard to make a diagnosis or suggest treatment on this platform, you need to see her doctor or a doctor who can guide you well, ? Order some lab tests and imaging studies after careful history and physical exam, good luck ...Read more

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For what reason serum cu and ceruloplasmin levels are paradoxically low in wilson's disease?

For what reason serum cu and ceruloplasmin levels are paradoxically low in wilson's disease?

Not paradoxical: The problem is that copper can't get out of certain cells. The reason for ceruloplasmin being low is under study; since it carries copper, this metal also tends to be low. Checking serum copper and serum ceruloplasmin as a screen for wilson's misses up to a quarter of cases, especially if the person is already sick with anything. ...Read more

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My dr. Says I have high copper in my blood (serum copper). Could I have wilson disease?  

My dr. Says I have high copper in my blood (serum copper). Could I have wilson disease?  

Need tests: Most cases of wilson disease show symptoms between childhood and early adulthood, some may present in their 30's and 40's. Diagnosis is made by blood, urine tests and an eye examination for kayser-fleischer rings (copper deposit around the cornea). Liver biopsy and genetic tests are also options. Not all patients experience the same set of symptoms or timeline, so thorough testing is important. ...Read more

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Liver Dr's-Is it JUST fibrosis that can be assessed/likely diagnosed from the serum marker tests like ELF, or other disease also? Thanks

Liver Dr's-Is it JUST fibrosis that can be assessed/likely diagnosed from the serum marker tests like ELF, or other disease also? Thanks

Fibrosis/cirrhosis: Although the most accurate way to assess fibrosis or cirrhosis is with liver biopsy (LB), it is invasive and therefore not used routinely. Three non-invasive tests are now used to assess scarring, two blood tests FibroTest and Enhanced Liver Fibrosis (ELF), as well as a scan, FibroScan or transient elastography (TE). The accuracy compared to LB is less, more accurate for cirrhosis than fibrosis ...Read more

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From anxiety of an illness I didn't eat much for 8months and lost over a stone in weight. I have a bit low serum iron. Is this most likely cause?

Losing 14 lbs is a: Lot. You need help to deal with your anxiety. Contact a psychologist or psychiatrist. Also get a complete physical to see whether there are physical complications. ...Read more

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For 57+ F (71 kg, 5.2 ft) does serum creatinine 1.0 mg/dL assure of no kidney disorder, stone etc?

For 57+ F (71 kg, 5.2 ft) does serum creatinine 1.0 mg/dL assure of no kidney disorder, stone etc?

Not entirely: It suggests normal glomerular function, but does not rule out kidney stone or other kidney disorders. A urine examination for albumin and red cells, if negative, would be reassuring. ...Read more

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My husbands serum creatine level is 1.39 and hb 11.2, he is 39 years old, is this an indication of kidney disease?

My husbands serum creatine level is 1.39 and hb 11.2, he is 39 years old, is this an indication of kidney disease?

Depends: His creatinine level is slightly elevated for his age. It could also be related to dehydration. Repeat labs and correction with other values may be helpful. ...Read more

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Does a normal serum copper level and serum ceruloplasmin level of 21 rule out wilson's disease? Have fatty liver with zero risk factors & mansymptoms

Does a normal serum copper level and serum ceruloplasmin level of 21 rule out wilson's disease? Have fatty liver with zero risk factors & mansymptoms

No: Diagnosing wilson's is treacherous and i'd ask about a urinary copper. About 1/4 of wilson's patients will have normal serum ceruloplasmin, and the serum copper is even less reliable. ...Read more

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Why coes serum aminotransferase increase in liver disease like viral hepatitis?

Why coes serum aminotransferase increase in liver disease like viral hepatitis?

Inflammation: When there is inflammation in the liver as a result of an insult, liver tests can become elevated. ...Read more

Serum (Definition)

Serum is the component of blood that does not contain cells or clotting factors. It does contain electrolytes an ...Read more