Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction. It can begin very quickly, and symptoms may be life-threatening. The most common causes are reactions to foods (especially peanuts), medications, and stinging insects. Other causes include exercise and exposure to latex. Sometimes no cause can be found.
It can affect many organs:
- Skin - itching, hives, redness, swelling
- Nose - sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose
- Mouth - itching, swelling of the lips or tongue
- Throat - itching, tightness, trouble swallowing, swelling of the back of the throat
- Chest - shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest pain or tightness
- Heart - weak pulse, passing out, shock
- Gastrointestinal tract - vomiting, diarrhea, cramps
- Nervous system - dizziness or fainting
If someone is having a serious allergic reaction, call 911. If an auto-injector is available, give the person the injection right away.
- Anaphylaxis (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Anaphylaxis (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Anaphylaxis (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology)
- Anaphylaxis (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology) Also in Spanish
- Anaphylaxis-Like Reactions (National Jewish Health)
- Anaphylaxis: First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Serious Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Anaphylaxis (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Use of epinephrine in anaphylaxis: a retrospective cohort study at a...
- Article: Adrenaline auto-injector injuries: Practical considerations in emergency management in a tertiary...
- Article: Anaphylaxis-induced coagulation disorders and serum procalcitonin elevation.
- Anaphylaxis -- see more articles