Anaphylactic Reaction

What is an Anaphylactic Reaction

Anaphylactic reaction (anaphylaxis) is a sudden, serious allergic reaction. This affects more than one part of your body. It can be life-threatening. If you have an anaphylactic reaction, you need to get medical help right away. You may need to stay in the hospital.

Your doctor may show you how to:

  • Use an allergy kit (anaphylaxis kit).
  • Give yourself an allergy shot (epinephrine injection). You use an auto-injector “pen” to give yourself the shot.

Signs of an anaphylactic reaction may include:

  • Itchy, red, swollen areas of skin (hives).
  • Swelling of your:
    • Eyes.
    • Lips.
    • Face.
    • Mouth.
    • Tongue.
    • Throat.
  • Trouble with any of these:
    • Breathing.
    • Talking.
    • Swallowing.
  • Breathing loudly (wheezing).
  • Passing out (fainting).
  • Having any of these feelings:
    • Warmth in your face (flushed).
    • Dizziness.
    • Light-headedness.
  • Pain in your stomach.
  • Throwing up.
  • Watery poop.

Follow these instructions at home:

Safety

  • Always keep an auto-injector pen or allergy kit with you. These could save your life. Use them as told by your doctor.
  • Do notdrive after a reaction. Wait until your doctor says it is safe to drive.
  • Make sure that you, the people who live with you, and your employer know:
    • How to use your allergy kit.
    • How to use your auto-injector pen.
  • Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you have an allergy, if your doctor tells you to do this.
  • Learn the signs of a very bad allergic reaction. This way, you can treat it right away.
  • Work with your doctors to make a plan for what to do if you have a very bad allergic reaction. It is important to be ready.

If you use your auto-injector pen:

  • Get more medicine (epinephrine) for it right away. This is important in case you have another reaction.
  • Get help right away.

To avoid a serious allergic reaction:

  • Avoid things that gave you a very bad allergic reaction before. These are called allergens.
  • Tell your server about your allergy when you go to a restaurant. If you are not sure if your meal has food that you are allergic to, ask your server before you eat it.

General instructions

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your doctor.
  • If you have itchy, red, swollen areas of skin or a rash:
    • Use an over-the-counter medicine (antihistamine) as told by your doctor.
    • Put cold, wet cloths on your skin.
    • Take a cool bath or shower. Avoid hot water.
  • Tell any doctors who care for you that you have an allergy.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your doctor. This is important.

Get help right away if:

  • You have signs of an allergic reaction. You may notice them soon after being around allergens. Signs may include:
    • Itchy, red, swollen areas of skin.
    • Swelling of your:
      • Eyes.
      • Lips.
      • Face.
      • Mouth.
      • Tongue.
      • Throat.
    • Trouble with any of these:
      • Breathing.
      • Talking.
      • Swallowing.
    • Breathing loudly (wheezing).
    • Passing out (fainting).
    • Having any of these feelings:
      • Warmth in your face (flushed).
      • Dizziness.
      • Light-headedness.
    • Pain in your stomach.
    • Throwing up.
    • Watery poop.
  • You had to use your auto-injector pen. You must go to the emergency room even if the medicine seems to be working. This is because another allergic reaction may happen within 3 days (rebound anaphylaxis).

These symptoms may be an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Use your auto-injector pen or allergy kit as you have been told. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospital.

Summary

  • An anaphylactic reaction (anaphylaxis) is a sudden, serious allergic reaction.
  • This condition can be life-threatening. If you have a reaction, get medical help right away.
  • Your doctor may show you how to use an allergy kit (anaphylaxis kit). You may also be shown how to give yourself an allergy shot (epinephrine injection) with an auto-injector “pen.”
  • Always keep an auto-injector pen or your allergy kit with you. These could save your life. Use them as told by your doctor.
  • If you had to use your auto-injector pen, you must go to the emergency room. Go there even if the medicine seems to be working.