What is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe, sometimes life-threatening, allergic reaction that affects the whole body. During an allergic reaction, the body releases histamines and other chemicals that defend against an allergen. Allergens are substances the immune system recognizes as foreign or dangerous. They vary greatly, from things such as dust and pollen, to certain food and drugs. Normally, allergy symptoms are not life-threatening, but some reactions are severe and can lead to anaphylaxis.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis typically develop quickly. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to: hives or itchiness, a weak or rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting, nasal congestion and/or dizziness. People suffering from anaphylaxis can also experience swelling of the face, tongue or throat which can lead to wheezing or difficulty breathing.