Also called: Anaphylactic shock

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 9-1-1. If an auto-injector is available, give the person the injection right away.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

The following features are indicative of Anaphylaxis:
  • urticaria
  • angioedema
  • hypotension
  • bronchospasm
  • elevation of tryptase and histamine levels
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain

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Common Causes of Anaphylaxis

The following are the most common causes of Anaphylaxis:
  • certain medications such as antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anesthetics
  • Hymenoptera stings
  • use of intravenous contrast materials

Risk Factors for Anaphylaxis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Anaphylaxis:
  • people with atopic diseases
  • people with mastocytosis

Prevention of Anaphylaxis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Anaphylaxis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid contact with stinging insects
  • avoid exposure to latex products
  • avoid anaphylaxis triggering foods

Occurrence of Anaphylaxis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Anaphylaxis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Anaphylaxis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Anaphylaxis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Anaphylaxis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Anaphylaxis:
  • Blood test: To measure the amount of a certain enzyme tryptase
  • Skin test: To determine the triggers

Doctor for Diagnosis of Anaphylaxis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Anaphylaxis:
  • Allergists
  • Immunologist

Complications of Anaphylaxis if untreated

Yes, Anaphylaxis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Anaphylaxis is left untreated:
  • can be life threatening
  • can stop the heartbeat

Procedures for Treatment of Anaphylaxis

The following procedures are used to treat Anaphylaxis:
  • Epinephrine auto injector: To reduce the body's allergic response
  • Intravenous antihistamines and cortisone: To reduce inflammation of the air passages and improve breathing

Medicines for Anaphylaxis

Below is the list of medicines used for Anaphylaxis:

Self-care for Anaphylaxis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Anaphylaxis:
  • Avoid allergy triggers: Avoid allergens that trigger your allergic reactions
  • Precautions against insect stings: If you're allergic to stinging insects, use caution around them to prevent anaphylaxis

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Anaphylaxis

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Anaphylaxis:
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: To keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs

Patient Support for Treatment of Anaphylaxis

The following actions may help Anaphylaxis patients:
  • Anaphylaxis emergency action plan: Helps your mind at ease

Time for Treatment of Anaphylaxis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Anaphylaxis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Within 1 week

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Anaphylaxis.

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