Recognizing and treating anaphylaxis when you have food allergies

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that can occur when people are exposed to foods they're allergic to, such as peanuts or shellfish. Symptoms can develop within minutes of exposure, or set in after an hour or more.

What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?

Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis can appear anywhere in the body. They include:


  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Itching


  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  • Itching

Respiratory system

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Congestion
  • Cough

Cardiovascular system

  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate

Gastrointestinal system

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

Neurological system

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

If you develop any of these symptoms of anaphylaxis, seek emergency care.

March 04, 2014 See more In-depth