The Stinging Information About Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a serious type of allergy that usually happens when a person takes a triggering substance that is often called allergen. The exposure and its resulting reaction, anaphylaxis, occurs when the person become sensitized to that substance.

Sometimes even if the person is exposed to allergens, even how little the allergens are and the time of exposure, the resulting allergy can really be serious and life-threatening.

Anaphylaxis attacks can happen after the substance is inhaled, injected or ingested. Physical or skin contact to the substance can sometimes also lead to anaphylaxis attacks.

Beware, because medical records around the world show that in several instances, anaphylaxis can lead to shock or anaphylactic shock that can really be fatal and deadly if untreated or uncured.

An example of a substance that can lead to anaphylaxis is bee sting. Bee stings contain minimal amounts of toxins that sensitizes a person’s immune system. If the person is exposed to subsequent bee stings, certainly, an allergic reaction will follow.

Take note that reaction to bee stings can be severe, sudden, and sometimes involving the entire body.

During anaphylaxis attacks, take note that the victim’s airways can be constricted. This reaction will sometimes be serious especially if breathing difficulties, wheezing and gastrointestinal discomfort occurs, like cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Causes of anaphylaxis

Other substances that may trigger an onset of anaphylaxis include several drugs, food allergens, horse serum which are contained in vaccines and other insect bites especially if there are stinging sensations. Insects like wasps, hornets and several species of ants can cause these sensations.

Foods that commonly cause anaphylaxis include eggs, wheat, shellfish, fish, legumes, soybeans, milk, cheese, peanuts and other nuts.

Drugs like pain relievers including diclofenac and ibuprofen, and anti-infection like penicillin and cephalosporins can trigger anaphylaxis attacks on several people.

Do you know that regular and prolonged exercises can also lead to anaphylaxis attacks? Yes, it is true because exercises affect the flow of air in your breathing system, especially if the surroundings is unclean.

Symptoms to look out for

Basically, anaphylaxis attack by constricting the passage of the airways. The disease can be indicated by respiratory distress, and low blood pressure or hypotension (the opposite of the common hypertension).

Angioedema2010Other indications include hives or in medical terms urticaria, itching, vomiting, uncontrolled tears due to stress and difficulty in breathing, swelling of the face, neck, throat and other body parts, blushing and fainting.

These symptoms can immediately show up upon exposure to triggering allergens or substances. However, in some cases, symptoms for anaphylaxis occur after about 30 minutes to up to about a few hours after the exposure or ingestion of allergens.

Take note that several of the symptoms are also symptoms for incompatible blood transfusion and should not be mistaken for such.


Anaphylaxis attacks will require utmost and serious professional medical attention. Because the attacks involve breathing difficulties, it is important to rush the person to the hospital to avoid serious problems, especially if no one around knows some first aid treatments for such.

In several attacks, artificial resuscitation, like the methods used when first aiding a drowned person, should be administered. Drugs like epinephrine and antihistamine will also help.

Prevention is better than cure

Because prevention is always better than cure, it is important if you have a history of anaphylaxis to know and identify the triggering substances.

Avoid insect bites and bee stings, because they are the common cause of anaphylaxis. Food allergens, especially some types od sea foods should definitely scrapped from the diet.

Allergies to drugs should also be known so you will never have the trouble of treating one disease and contracting anaphylaxis in the future. Remember, presence of mind and cautiousness can save you from a lot of trouble.

By: Charlene J. Nuble
Charlene J. Nuble 2006. For answers to All your frequently asked questions about anaphylaxis, please go to:

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Photo: Allergic angioedema. Note that this child is unable to open his eyes due to swelling. Author: James Heilman, MD, own work. 10 February 2010. Access the original Photo information here: