The symptoms and causes of anaphylaxis

Fact Checked

Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction that is considered life-threatening. Always bear in mind that this reaction would always require immediate emergency care at the hospital. It is important that you know how to spot the signs of anaphylaxis and how to manage the condition.

Causes of anaphylaxis

For those who previously suffered from any allergic reaction, they are at risk for anaphylaxis. Just take note that not all allergic reactions will develop into anaphylaxis.

There are certain allergic reactions that can put you at risk such as allergies to food including shellfish, milk, peanuts, soy and eggs. Others include allergies to certain medications such as penicillin and bites or stings from insects.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis

The condition has several symptoms that you should be familiar with. In an anaphylactic reaction, the symptoms can all appear at once. The symptoms include:

  • Runny nose or sneezing
  • Hives or itchy skin
  • Coughing
  • Itchy throat, mouth and difficulty swallowing
  • Limbs that are swollen
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or cramps

The serious symptoms of anaphylaxis that requires emergency assistance include:

  • Tightness in the chest or pain
  • Difficulty breathing or closed airway
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or fainting

Always remember that the symptoms of anaphylaxis can get worse at a very fast rate. Immediate treatment is required within 30-60 minutes because the symptoms can be fatal.

The symptoms usually have a pattern that you should be familiar with. Initially, the symptoms start to manifest minutes after eating or touching an allergen. Some of the symptoms develop at the same time. The primary set of the symptoms vanishes but returns after 8-72 hours later. This is followed by a single reaction that continues for many hours.

If you suspect that an individual is having an anaphylaxis, immediately seek emergency assistance. While waiting for the medical team to arrive, make sure that the individual is comfortable. Always elevate the legs to facilitate the flow of blood and if the individual stops breathing, perform CPR.

Using an epinephrine auto-injector to treat anaphylaxis

An EpiPen is administered during an anaphylaxis.

Majority of individuals who have severe allergies are prescribed with an epinephrine auto-injector that can help treat the symptoms of the reaction. Take note that epinephrine is often utilized to treat anaphylaxis. It is administered via an auto-injector that has a needle that delivers a single dose at a time. The outer thigh muscle is the preferred site of injection. Once the injection is administered, the symptoms must improve quickly. If not, a second injection is needed. After an epinephrine shot is given, it is important to consult a doctor for further treatment.

How to prevent anaphylaxis

The best way to prevent the reaction is to avoid the allergy triggers. With the help of your doctor, you can determine the allergy triggers with simple tests such as a blood test or skin prick test. Your doctor can provide you with recommendations on how to limit your exposure to the allergy triggers. In doing so, it will help avoid an allergic reaction from developing as well as anaphylaxis.

Was this post helpful?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional