Anaphylaxis is an severe, and often life-threatening, allergic reaction that can be caused by a number of different substances, including various types of food and drugs, insect stings or bites, and even latex. Anaphylaxis occurs when the immune system severely overreacts to an allergen, causing systemic symptoms such difficulty swallowing or breathing, nausea and vomiting, swelling in the face, eyes, and mouth, and even unconsciousness. If left untreated, anaphylaxis can lead to death, sometimes very quickly, due to blocked airways or cardiac arrest.

The most common form of treatment for anaphylaxis is the epinephrine auto-injector (the “epipen”), although some people may also be given antihistamines or steroids, depending on the cause of the anaphylactic response.

Following these tips can help individuals prevent or recover from anaphylactic reactions.

Anaphylaxis Guidelines

  • 1 Develop an allergy reaction plan if you have a severe allergic reaction to any foods, medicines, insects, or latex.
  • 2 The best way to prevent anaphylaxis is to avoid the allergen; in some cases, desensitization or immunotherapy may help overcome anaphylaxis.
  • 3 Proper and swift administration of epinephrine is critical for preventing death.
  • 4 Emergency medical help is necessary even if you use an epinephrine auto-injector.

Anaphylaxis Checklist

  • Understand the potential causes of anaphylaxis.
  • Carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of anaphylactic shock.
  • Wear a medical bracelet to let others know about your allergies.