Anaphylaxis is a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction with rapid onset that requires prompt medical attention. After seeking emergency treatment, this requires follow-up with an allergist/immunologist for evaluation. Many people had no knowledge they had an allergy until they experienced anaphylaxis.

The symptoms of anaphylaxis can include multiple areas or systems in the body. These can include:


flushing, itching, hives, rash, redness, warmth, swelling


low blood pressure, dizziness, passing out or nearly passing out, pale/blue coloring, or shock


wheezing, chest tightness, cough, trouble breathing, hoarse voice, trouble speaking


trouble swallowing, mouth swelling, nausea, vomiting, stomach upset or pain, diarrhea


feeling of impending doom, itchy mouth/throat, nasal congestion, red eyes, anxiety, uterine cramping

The most common causes of anaphylaxis include food, medication, stinging insects and latex. Any food can cause an allergic reaction but the most common are peanut, tree nuts, milk, egg, fish and shellfish. Venom from the sting of wasps, honey bees, yellow jackets, hornets and fire ants can cause severe fatal reactions as well. Almost any medication can cause an allergic reaction but the most common is antibiotics and anti - seizure medications


Once a patient experiences an allergic reaction like anaphylaxis, it is imperative they receive immediate medical attention. After the acute episode has resolved, it is necessary to seek the care of an allergist/immunologist who is specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of anaphylaxis in patients of all ages. He/she will take a careful history and exam and order any appropriate tests to help determine the cause. The patient then receives in depth counseling on how to avoid their triggers, discuss various treatment options which can sometimes include immunotherapy, and educate the patient so that another reaction can be avoided. This plan will likely include an epinephrine autoinjector and an Anaphylaxis Action Plan to keep on file at work, school, camp or other places where others may need to recognize your symptoms and provide treatment

If you are someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, look to the experts to find relief.