(Anaphylactic Reaction; Severe Allergic Reaction)
How to Say It: ANNA-fill-AX-is
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. It can be life threatening. It needs to be treated right away.
Anaphylaxis is caused by the immune system overreacting to allergens or triggers. It is not always known what triggers it. Common triggers are:
Things that may raise the risk are:
Symptoms often occur within minutes after contact with an allergen. Some may happen hours later. They may be mild or severe enough to cause death. Symptoms may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to make a diagnosis. Blood and urine tests may also be done.
You may be referred to a doctor who treats allergies.
Anaphylaxis needs medical care right away, including:
Severe anaphylaxis may require:
To reduce the risk of anaphylaxis:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
FARE—Food Allergy Research & Education
Allergy Asthma Information Association
Food Allergy Canada
Anaphylaxis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anaphylaxis. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Anaphylaxis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed January 29, 2021.
Kelly KJ, Sussman G. Latex allergy: where are we now and how did we get there? J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2017;5(5):1212-1216.
Last reviewed Janaury 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Shawna Grubb, RN
Last Updated: 3/1/2021