(Anaphylactic Reaction; Severe Allergic Reaction)
- Foods and food additives, especially eggs, peanuts, seafood, cow's milk, soy, fish, shellfish, seeds, and tree nuts
- Insect stings or bites from bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants
- Medications such as antibiotics, seizure medications, and muscle relaxants
- Latex products such as gloves, medical tubing, and condoms
- Blood transfusions
- Some pain medications, especially narcotics
|Allergic Reaction to Medication (Hives)|
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- Hives and itching
- Warmth or redness of skin
- Swelling, redness, stinging or burning, especially on the face, mouth, eyes, or hands
- Lightheadedness and pale/blue skin color
- Chest tightness, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and wheezing
- Nausea, vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, or abdominal pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Epinephrine (adrenaline) injection—makes blood vessels constrict, relaxes the airway, stops itching and hives, and relieves gastrointestinal cramping
- Other medications—corticosteroids and/or antihistamines may be given after the epinephrine to decrease inflammation and improve breathing.
- Bronchodilators—to improve breathing
- IV fluids—to maintain blood pressure
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)—may be necessary in severe cases when anaphylaxis leads to cardiovascular collapse. Severe anaphylaxis may require mechanical ventilation until swelling is brought under control.
- Allergy shots can decrease the risk of anaphylaxis and reduce the severity of the reactions to certain triggers.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet that lists your allergies.
- Tell your doctor or dentist about your allergies before taking any medication. When possible, ask that medications be taken as a pill. Allergic reactions can be more severe with injected medications.
- Your doctor may give you a self-injectable epinephrine kit to keep with you at home, work, in the car, and when you travel. Be sure family and friends know how to use the kit too. Get training from your doctor and practice using it in the doctor's office.
- Make sure your epinephrine kit is not expired.
- Make sure the school nurse and teachers know about any allergies your child has. If your child has self-injectable epinephrine, make sure school staff knows how to use it and understand when it is needed.
- If you are allergic to insect stings, wear protective clothing when outside.
- Always remain in the doctor or dentist's office 30 minutes after you have an injection. Report any symptoms right away.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology http://www.aaaai.org
Food Allergy Research and Education http://www.foodallergy.org
Allergy Asthma Information Association http://aaia.ca
Calgary Allergy Network http://www.calgaryallergy.ca
Anaphylaxis. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Oct 1;68(7):1339-1340. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20031001/1339ph.html. Accessed August 19, 2014.
Anaphylaxis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 14, 2014. Accessed August 19, 2014.
Kay AB. Allergy and allergic diseases–second of two parts. N Engl J Med. 2001;344:109-113.
Lieberman P, Kemp SF, et al. The diagnosis and management of anaphylaxis: An updated practice parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Mar;115(3 Suppl 2):S483-523.
Pumphrey R. Anaphylaxis: can we tell who is at risk of a fatal reaction?. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004; 4:285.
Sampson, HA, Munoz-Furlong, A, et al. Second symposium on the definition and management of anaphylaxis: summary report—Second National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network symposium. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006;117:391.
Simons E. Anaphylaxis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010;125: S161-81.
Winbery SL, Lieberman PL. Anaphylaxis. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 1995;15:447.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 08/19/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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