Severe Allergy and Anaphylaxis


Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction –  and is potentially life-threatening. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency, and requires immediate treatment.


Exposure to certain allergens increases the risk of triggering an anaphylactic reaction for those who are allergic, and include

  • Foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, and milk
  • Stinging or biting insects such as bees, ants, and ticks
  • Latex
  • Medications such as penicillin.


  • Adolescents and young adults may be at increased risk for anaphylaxis because of inconsistent behaviors in avoiding their confirmed triggers

High risk of anaphylaxis

  • Allergy and asthma history
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Previous history of anaphylaxis

Symptoms and signs of anaphylaxis

Mild-moderate symptoms Severe symptoms (Anaphylaxis)
Swelling of face, lips and eyes Swelling of tongue and/or throat
Skin rash (hives, urticaria) Difficulty in swallowing or speaking
Tingling mouth Vocal changes (hoarse voice)
Runny / itchy nose, sneezing Wheeze or persistent cough
Stomach cramps, vomiting Difficult or noisy breathing
(these are a sign of anaphylaxis after an insect sting) Stomach cramps or vomiting after an insect sting
Dizziness / collapse / loss of consciousness (due to a drop in blood pressure)