Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

It can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something you're

allergic to. Common triggers include certain foods, some medications,

insect venom and latex.

 

Anaphylaxis requires an injection of epinephrine and a follow-up trip to

an emergency room. If you don't have epinephrine, you need to go to

an emergency room immediately. If anaphylaxis isn't treated right away,

it can be fatal.

 

Symptoms

Anaphylaxis symptoms usually occur within minutes of exposure to an allergen. 

 

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Skin reactions, including hives and itching and flushed or pale skin

  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)

  • Constriction of your airways and a swollen tongue or throat, which can cause wheezing and trouble breathing

  • A weak and rapid pulse

  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

  • Dizziness or fainting

When to see a doctor?

Seek emergency medical help if you, your child or someone else you're with has a severe allergic reaction. Don't wait to see if the symptoms go away.

If the person having the attack carries an epinephrine autoinjector, administer it right away. Even if symptoms improve after the injection, you still need to go to an emergency room to make sure symptoms don't recur, even without more exposure to your allergen. 

Make an appointment to see your doctor if you or your child has had a severe allergy attack or signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis in the past.

The best way to prevent anaphylaxis is to avoid substances that cause this severe reaction. 

If you have an epinephrine autoinjector, check the expiration date and be sure to refill your prescription before it expires.