This is a severe reaction to an allergen. It happens when your immune system floods your bloodstream with chemicals that are supposed to protect you. But these chemicals overwhelm your body. You can go into shock. This is life-threatening.


Anaphylaxis can be triggered by many things. If you're allergic to a food, exposure to that food can cause it. It can be triggered by insect stings. It can be triggered by exposure to latex. And, it can be caused by certain medications.


After the exposure, symptoms usually begin within minutes. Your skin may turn red, and hives may form. Your tongue and throat may swell. Your airways may constrict. You have trouble breathing. You can have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. You may have a rapid pulse and a drop in blood pressure. You may feel dizzy and faint. And you may lose consciousness.


Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. It can be treated right away with an epinephrine auto injector. This is a syringe that delivers a hormone into your thigh. It stops or improves your symptoms quickly. But you still need to go to the emergency room as soon as possible. If you are at risk for anaphylaxis, talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can stay safe.