Anaphylaxis symptoms usually occur within minutes of exposure to an allergen. Sometimes, however, anaphylaxis can occur a half-hour or longer after exposure. Anaphylaxis symptoms include:

  • Skin reactions, including hives along with itching, and flushed or pale skin (almost always present with anaphylaxis)
  • A feeling of warmth
  • The sensation of a lump in your throat
  • Constriction of the 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.

If the person having the attack carries an epinephrine autoinjector (such as an EpiPen or EpiPen Jr), give him or her a shot right away. Even if symptoms improve after an emergency epinephrine injection, a visit to the emergency department is still necessary to make sure symptoms don't return.

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

The diagnosis and long-term management of anaphylaxis are complicated, so you'll probably need to see a doctor who specializes in allergies and immunology.

Jan. 16, 2013