Effects of Anaphylaxis Reaction, Its Causes, Symptoms And Triggers

Difficulty in breathing and congestion can be because of anaphylaxis reaction. Know causes and triggers for this condition.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Aug 19, 2021Updated at: Aug 19, 2021
Effects of Anaphylaxis Reaction, Its Causes, Symptoms And Triggers

Majority of people have some kind of allergy from a substance, food or condition. These allergies stick with the person for a long duration depending on the type of it. However it is not so common that a person can have any fatal reaction or health issue because of most allergies. But Anaphylaxis is one severe allergic condition which can be potentially dangerous and cause death too. This allergy occurs as normally as any other allergy like food allergy or insect bites etc, but people get hospitalised because of it. Today we will know about the causes and triggers of Anaphylaxis allergic reaction and how does affect our body.

What Causes Anaphylaxis?

This allergic reaction happens when the body of a person reacts to a foreign material or substance it is not used to or considers it as a threat. Dr.K.M Narayan, Senior Physician and Allergist from Max Super speciality Hospital, Kochi explains about this allergic condition. According to him the cause of it remains unknown until diagnosis. This is because in anaphylaxis, there can be multiple reasons from which the allergy can occur. 


Most patients with this allergy report of reaction from some kind of medications, food and insect stings. While in some cases it can also be because of common factors such as milk, fish or any other food product. Anaphylaxis is a condition in which body takes a particular substance to be foreign particle and treats it as threat to the body. Hence the earlier the allergy is diagnosed, the lesser are the chances of damage.

Common Triggers for Anaphylaxis 

Medications and other reasons for allergy can be known mostly after tests and diagnosis but some triggers that causes this condition by food can be-

  • Milk
  • Wheat
  • Soya
  • Fish
  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Eggs


Trigger situation totally depends on person; some people get reactions with minimal exposure to the substance, whereas others react to it when there is considerable amount of exposure to it.

What Happens During Anaphylaxis?

According to the reaction to its allergen, the body produces big amount of histamine. Histamine is like a signalling molecule that triggers an inflammatory response. Anaphylaxis can affect your body in different ways which can be also cause complications to your health.

  • Dilation of blood vessels
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shock
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure

It can also result to airways becoming narrow in this condition which can make it difficult to breathe and result to severity. Experiencing anaphylaxis gives a feeling of heart attack and choking and creates panic in the person. In addition, this condition can also lead to leak of blood vessels that causes edema. If this occurs then the part gets swollen in the region and fluid gets accumulated which can cause nerve damage and haemorrhage. This mostly happens within hours of reaction to the allergen.

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Symptoms of Anaphylaxis Reaction

Symptoms depend on the type of allergy he is suffering from and the trigger allergen. It also affects different area, hence there can be multiple symptoms reacting at once. Most evident and common symptoms that happen are-

  • Itchy feeling in throat and mouth
  • Nasal congestion
  • Difficulty in swallowing something or having feeling as if something is stuck in the throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach pain and cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Swelling and itchiness in skin, rashes and hives etc.
  • Severe anxiety
  • Shock
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Faintness and low pulse
  • Low blood pressure and poor blood circulation that leads to pale skin colour.


Things to do in Anaphylaxis Reaction

Anyone who experiences severe allergic reaction and has anaphylaxis symptoms mentioned above needs to be given immediate medical attention. If medical treatment takes time to come, then you need to follow these steps to help the person.

Provide First Aids

In case of stings or insect bite, try to remove the sting or allergen. Keep the person cool and loosen the clothing for air ventilation and enhanced breathing. Try to know about the allergic reaction or condition he suffers from.

If the person faints, then try to make him sit and lie flat. Try to find if there is any medication of allergy in his pocket or with him. Take him to hospital and be with the person till medical help is provided. People with such allergies carry injectors with them containing adrenaline or epinephrine injection kit with them. Give the injection to them if they have it.

Also Read- Sinus Congestion vs Head Congestion: How To Differentiate Between The Two

Help the person Breathe

Most important thing to do in this condition is to help the person breathe. This is because majority of reaction in anaphylaxis causes severe reaction and makes difficult for the person to breathe. At this point if the person faints, then lie the person straight on the floor and raise their legs up for more oxygen. Call for immediate help and explain the condition to the healthcare professional so that they can revive him as early as possible. In case of emergency situation, try to give the person CPR. 

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