Overview

Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. It can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something you're allergic to, such as peanuts or bee stings.

Anaphylaxis causes your immune system to release a flood of chemicals that can cause you to go into shock — your blood pressure drops suddenly and your airways narrow, blocking breathing. Signs and symptoms include a rapid, weak pulse; a skin rash; and nausea and vomiting. Common triggers include certain foods, some medications, insect venom and latex.

Anaphylaxis requires an injection of epinephrine and a follow-up trip to an emergency room. If you don't have epinephrine, you need to go to an emergency room immediately. If anaphylaxis isn't treated right away, it can be fatal.

Feb. 14, 2017
References
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  3. Anaphylaxis. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://acaai.org/allergies/anaphylaxis. Accessed Nov. 20, 2016.
  4. Fromer L. Prevention of anaphylaxis: The role of the epinephrine auto-injector. The American Journal of Medicine. 2016;139:1244.
  5. Swan KE, et al. The prevention and management of anaphylaxis. Paediatrics and Child Health. 2016;26:279.
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