Last Updated on Jun 13, 2013

What is Anaphylaxis?

  • Severe, life- threatening allergic reaction
  • Occurs as a reaction to an allergen
  • Anaphylaxis releases various chemicals in body
  • Reactions occur in secs / mins of exposure
  • Occurs in 30 per 100,000 individuals per year


  • Food like nuts, milk, eggs, fish
  • Insect sting
  • Latex
  • Vaccines
  • Medications like antibiotics, anesthetics
  • Some tropical insects, plants, animals
  • Unknown causes

What happens?
  • On first exposure-allergen specific antibody, Ig-E, produced
  • On re-exposure, Ig-E triggers immune response
  • This immune response is anaphylaxis

  • Tingling / warm sensation
  • Itchiness / Rash
  • Swelling of areas around mouth / throat 
  • Restricted air-ways
  • Reduced oxygen level in brain
  • Signs of asthma
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluid–filled lungs
  • Low blood pressure
  • Palpitations / feeling faint
  • Loss of consciousness

Signs of Asthma

Who is at risk? 
  • Those with history of food allergy
  • Those with family history of allergies
  • Those who have experienced prior attack

  • If nauseated, lie down on the side
  • If feeling faint, lie down, legs raised
  • In case of breathing difficulty, sit up
  • First time patients should be hospital treated 
  • Epinephrine injections – effective treatment 
  • Continuous monitoring mandatory
  • Severity/ response / prior episodes determine treatment

Hospital Treated

  • Avoid allergens as far as possible
  • Those at risk should carry adrenalin auto-injector
  • Inform school authorities, if children at risk
  • Children should wear food allergy badges
  • Emergency protocols necessary in schools/ work place
  • Educating the public is vital

Most Popular on Medindia


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