info icon Need Help? Phone us on: 020 3411 5405   9am to 8pm - 7 days a week


Profile Informations

Login Data

or login

First name is required!
Last name is required!
First name is not valid!
Last name is not valid!
This is not an email address!
Email address is required!
This email is already registered!
Password is required!
Enter a valid password!
Please enter 6 or more characters!
Please enter 16 or less characters!
Passwords are not same!
Terms and Conditions are required!
Email or Password is wrong!


AnaphylaxisEveryone affected by allergy ought to be aware of the possibility of anaphylaxis, because this extreme kind of allergic reaction may be fatal. Fortunately, anaphylaxis is rare and it can usually be treated successfully if prompt action is taken.

FAQ about anaphylaxis:

What is anaphylaxis?
What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?
What causes anaphylaxis?
What is the treatment for anaphylaxis?
How can I avoid anaphylaxis?


What is anaphylaxis?

top of page ^

Anaphylaxis is a particularly severe or extreme allergic reaction. It is very different from the wheezing of an asthmatic attack or the sneezing that accompanies hay fever because it affects the whole body, rather than just the part of the body, such as the nose or lungs, where allergen exposure has taken place. For this reason, anaphylaxis is sometimes also called a systemic allergic reaction.

What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?

top of page ^

The symptoms of anaphylaxis are varied and not everyone having an anaphylactic attack will experience them all. Anaphylactic responses tend to escalate and can prove fatal in less than an hour. Roughly, in order of appearance, they include:

  • Itching all over the body
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Widespread swelling under the skin
  • Difficulty in speaking, swallowing or breathing
  • Rapid pulse, palpitations
  • Anxiety, disorientation and a feeling of impending disaster - this last symptom is very specific to anaphylaxis
  • Abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhoea
  • Dizziness, fainting and collapse due to a dramatic fall in blood pressure

The latter stages of anaphylaxis are clinically known as anaphylactic shock or just as ‘shock’. Death from anaphylaxis occurs from shock, swelling around the mouth and throat, which blocks breathing, or from a severe asthma attack.

What causes anaphylaxis?

top of page ^

As with milder forms of allergic reaction, anaphylaxis occurs because of an over-reaction by the immune system to exposure to allergens – specific proteins that are present in various substances including foods, latex rubber and certain drugs. A non-allergic person would not respond to these allergens, which are normally harmless. Substances containing allergens that can cause anaphylaxis include:

  • bee or wasp stings, snake venom
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts such as walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds and cashew nuts
  • eggs
  • milk
  • sesame seeds
  • fish, shellfish
  • latex rubber
  • penicillin, beta-blockers and some other drugs
  • immunotherapy, skin prick tests
  • radio-contrast media used in medical imaging
  • exercise, especially strenuous exercise and where other triggers are involved, like cold or food allergens

Occasionally, anaphylaxis occurs for no obvious reason. However exposure to the allergen causes production of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies which, in turn, trigger the release of histamine, and other chemicals, from immune cells. It is these chemicals which act on blood vessels to cause swelling, itching and the other symptoms of anaphylaxis.

What is the treatment for anaphylaxis?

top of page ^

While you may be able to ride out an ordinary allergic reaction, like a bout of hay fever, anaphylaxis is considered a medical emergency and medical attention must always be sought as soon as possible. People at risk of anaphylaxis should be prescribed an adrenaline (also known as epinephrine) auto-injector EpiPen or Anapen, a pen-like device which they should carry round at all times. Adrenaline makes the blood vessels contract, which reduces swelling, and relaxes the smooth muscle in the lungs, so as to help the breathing.

As soon as an anaphylactic attack starts, the adrenaline should be used straight away by removing the top of the auto-injector and jabbing it firmly into the outer thigh. If the symptoms do not subside, then a second injection can be given 10 to 15 minutes later, although you should never exceed the maximum number of adrenaline shots specified by your doctor. If you know you have been exposed, such as a bee sting, it’s best to give yourself an adrenaline shot, even before the symptoms start unless you have been advised otherwise.

Once symptoms subside, you should be kept in hospital (once medical help has arrived) for several hours because attacks can recur or be delayed in their onset.

If the main symptom of anaphylaxis is a swollen tongue or throat, be aware that this can cause suffocation. If the swelling is visible, and if the person is turning blue or has become unconscious, because of lack of oxygen, then the airway should be kept open by whoever is accompanying the person. One way is to insert the handle of a spoon with smooth edges over the tongue and into the throat.

If the person loses consciousness, they should be laid down on their side but if they have difficulty breathing, a sitting position is better (unless they have also lost consciousness, in which case it is safer to have them lie down).

If you are travelling, think ahead about how you will call for medical help if you suffer an anaphylactic attack. Make sure you always have a phone to hand and know the number of the emergency services. It is also important to wear a MedicAlert bracelet or pendant in case you should be found, or arrive at hospital, in an unconscious state due to anaphylaxis. In particular, this will stop medical staff wearing latex gloves and clothing if this is your allergy as further exposure could be fatal.

How can I avoid anaphylaxis?

top of page ^

If you have ever had a bad allergic reaction in the past, you should be reviewed by an allergy specialist to see if you are at risk of anaphylaxis. Even a tingling of the lips on exposure to particular food stuff can be significant, because a subsequent reaction to it may progress to full-blown anaphylaxis. Referral to an allergy specialist is particularly important if you have asthma because this seems to be a strong risk factor for anaphylaxis. You may be a candidate for immunotherapy if your trigger is something that is hard to avoid, like wasp stings.

If you are allergic to foods such as nuts, eggs or sesame seeds, be meticulous about reading labels on pre-packaged foods because these will state if a product contains traces of your trigger, even if it is not a major component of it. In summary, you should be extremely vigilant about avoiding anaphylaxis triggers while also making sure you are always prepared to treat an attack.

Related Products:

Asthma Relief ProductsAllergy & Asthma PackageMiele C3 Allergy PowerLineIQAir HealthPro 250

Anaphylaxis Explained | Anaphylaxis FAQs & Expert Advice Articles

Link between Food Allergies and Asthma

top of page ^

food allergies and asthma In the largest food allergy study to date, researchers at John Hopkins Children's Center, and elsewhere, reveal that 2.5% of the US population have at least one food allergy. They also found a strong link between food allergy and asthma. This is a particularly valuable study - not just because of its size but because the researchers measured antibodies in the blood as well as asking participants if they have an allergy. So all reported cases of allergy were confirmed clinically.

Read More

Eating Out with an Allergy

top of page ^

eating out with an allergy Do you feel nervous having a meal out because of your allergy? Do you avoid visiting restaurants with friends, or Sunday lunch at the pub with the family? Well, maybe you can relax a bit now, because six pub/restaurant chains have now signed up to the Food Standards Agency Healthy Eating Initiative. Whitbread (Beefeater, Brewer's Fayre, Premier Inn), Mitchell & Butlers (All Bar One, Harvester, Browns restaurants), JD Wetherspoon, Marston's and the Spirit Group (Punch taverns, Chef and Brewer) are the companies who have committed to a number of projects, including making nutritional information more readily available to their customers.

Read More

Flu Vaccine Safe For Those With Egg Allergy

top of page ^

flu vaccine safe for those with egg allergy Most flu vaccines are produced inside chicken eggs, raising concerns that people with egg allergies may have a reaction to a protein in the vaccine. Where the vaccine was essential to have, an allergist would get involved by giving the patient skin tests and maybe giving the dose of vaccine over a period of time. But in the last two years, there has been in-depth research looking at the safety of giving the vaccine to people with egg allergies.

Read More

Don’t Let Nut Allergy Spoil Halloween

top of page ^

nut allergy Dressing up, early fireworks, and trick or treat make Halloween a fun way to round off half term - but children with allergies need to take care. Prof Sean Cahill, a paediatrician at Loyola University in Chicago, sounds a cautionary note. 'Nut allergies can be especially dangerous,' he says. 'Allergies can be a life-or-death situation. Just because a child only had a rash the first time exposed, doesn't mean it won't be more serious the next time.' Trick or treat is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. If your child does have a nut allergy, here's how to keep them safe, without spoiling their fun.

Read More

Food Allergy vs Food Intolerance - Which One Do You Have?

top of page ^

food allergy vs food intolerance Adverse reactions to food are not uncommon. True food allergy, however, only affects 2 to 4% of adults and 6 to 8% of children. In food allergy, specific proteins in the food you eat act as "allergies", triggering the production of antibodies in the IgE class. Once sensitised like this, the next time you are exposed to the allergen IgE alerts the mast cells in the immune system. A mast cell is a resident "Cell (biology)" that contains many "Granule (cell biology)" granules rich in histamine and "Heparin".

Read More