Staten Island:

Wednesday and Friday
11am - 7pm
New patients, office visits and immunotherapy shots.

Phone: 718-816-8200

Brooklyn Heights:

Tuesday and Thursday
1pm - 7pm

Phone: 718-624-6495

Bay Ridge:

Mon, Tue and Thu
1:30pm - 7pm

Phone: 718-748-7551

What Is Anaphylaxis? Arm Yourself with These Facts

  • Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening, often unexpected, allergic reaction that affects many parts of the body at once. Like other allergic reactions, anaphylaxis is the body’s overreaction to a foreign substance that ordinarily is harmless.
  • Symptoms of anaphylaxis include hives, swelling and flushing, difficulty breathing and wheezing, a swelling of the tongue, throat and nose, dizziness and a dangerous drop in blood pressure, nausea and cramping.
  • The symptoms can occur within minutes of exposure to the offending allergen but also can develop after 30 minutes or more. In some cases, a second or biphasic reaction may occur eight to 12 hours after the initial reaction. If symptoms develop quickly, the condition is more likely to be severe and potentially fatal.
  • Patients who have a history of allergic conditions or have had a previous severe reaction are at greater risk for anaphylaxis.
  • Identifying the cause of anaphylaxis requires a detailed history of all food and medication ingested before the reaction and a review of all activities including exercise and sex. While a patient’s history is often the most important tool, skin tests or challenge tests also may be performed to identify specific triggers, confirm a diagnosis or rule out other causes.
  • Allergic reactions to food, latex, medication and insect stings are the most common causes of anaphylaxis. The condition can be triggered by exercise, seminal fluid and there also is a small risk of reaction to allergen imunotherapy.
  • Food allergy accounts for 35% to 55% of anaphylactic reactions with peanuts, tree nuts, fish, milk and eggs being the most common.
  • Up to 6.5% of the general population has a latex sensitivity with health care workers, children with spina bifida and genitourinary abnormalities, and workers with occupational exposures to latex at higher risk.
  • Penicillin is the most common cause of drug-induced anaphylaxis followed by aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • If no cause of a reaction is determined, the condition is called idiopathic anaphylaxis.
  • Heart attacks, anxiety disorders, seizure disorders and poisoning are some of the conditions that may be mistaken for anaphylaxis.
  • Immediate emergency treatment is required for all patients who experience any anaphylactic symptoms.
Patients who have had an anaphylactic reaction should have a consultation. We can help you determine the risk for future reactions, take a detailed history, conduct diagnostic tests, review avoidance techniques and provide instruction on the self-administration of epinephrine.