What is it?

Anaphylaxis is a severe and life threatening allergy reaction to venom, food or medications. Usually, it is caused by a reaction to bee sting or foods that are known to cause allergies such as peanuts and tree nuts. The exposure to the allergan causes the immune system to release chemicals that can make the body enter into shock; a sudden decrease in blood pressure and narrowing of the airway. An anaphylactic reaction always has to occur after the person has already come in contact with this specific allergan- which caused the body to create antibodies. Anaphylaxis can occur within minutes from the exposure to the allergan. Some people can even develop anaphylaxis to physical activity.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Anaphylactic shock
- Anaphylactoid reaction
- Anaphylaxis (severe whole-body allergic reaction)

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms may include rash, hives, pale skin, hypotension, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, weak and rapid pulse, wheezing and difficulty to breath.


Diagnosis of anaphylaxis is clinical and relies on the exposure to an allergen and the common symptoms. Anaphylaxis is considered likely to be present if any 1 of the 3 following clinical criteria is satisfied within minutes to hours: Acute symptoms involving skin, mucosal surface, or both, as well as at least one of the following: respiratory compromise, hypotension, or end-organ dysfunction. A blood test for tryptase can be taken to see if it is elevated, which is common in three hours after anaphylaxis.


Treatment includes epinephrine, oxygen, intravenous antihistamines and cortisone and a beta-agonist to relieve breathing symptoms. Of course that If needed, cardiopulmonary resuscitation is done before all else. People who are at risk for anaphylaxis, the patient will be given epinephrine auto injector which they will have to carry always and needs to be used immediately when suspecting anaphylactic reaction.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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