Patient Comments: Anaphylaxis - Describe Your Experience


Please describe your experience with anaphylaxis. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: jellybean666, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I am 19 years old. I took penicillin and had anaphylaxis. I urinated blood, could barely breathe, throat was swollen, itchy and painful, chest was tight and painful, and I was sweating profusely. I had high temperature, huge chest rash and blurry vision. I was dizzy, lightheaded, pale, nauseous, and had severe abdominal cramps, with blood pressure 150/107 and pulse 145. The emergency room (ER) staff literally said 'just stop taking penicillin.' The discharged me while still experiencing all of those symptoms. I was wheezing and gasping for air for the next hour.

Comment from: Anita, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 17

Anaphylaxis happened during a round of IV chemotherapy using carboplatin after recurrence of stage 4 ovarian cancer. First I got a tickle in my chest, then chest tightness, then trouble breathing, pounding heart, flushed face, then itchy eyes, nausea, and arms and legs turned red and itched. Oncologist came in. I had already been put on 10 liters of oxygen. I was given IV Benadryl, IV steroids, and IV for nausea. I offered to the nurse earlier to use the EpiPen I had for bee stings but she said not to. Still think I should have.

Comment from: Vkneib, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I recently went into anaphylactic shock. I was covered with hives for weeks but we could not figure out what medicine I had developed an allergy to. Last Tuesday I took my nighttime medicines and forty minutes later I felt my blood pressure plummet and I knew I was dying. My husband bolted for my EpiPen, shot me with it, and called 911. I have no doubt that if my husband had not acted as quick I would not have made it until the ambulance got here. If you have hives take them as a warning and get serious!

Comment from: Luke , 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: July 24

I'm 37, male and have had several episodes of anaphylaxis, sometimes just irritation of stomach intestines, but when it fully kicks in you have hopeless feelings, major confusion, blacking out, burning and swollen stomach, intestines, kidneys and everything in between. The worst thing is every time I can't remember previous episodes and get tested for everything, and going to the doctor 18 times before asking for Benadryl. Antibiotics help but for me I take antihistamines, testosterone and Valium cocktail with correct doses.

Comment from: stevie, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 16

I have had seven bouts of anaphylaxis over the past two weeks. I have been admitted to hospital each time. I did originally think I had an allergy, but now I am under the impression it may be due to having an ulcer. I am not a doctor so don’t take this as gospel. But if you are suffering anaphylaxis and have a lump in the center of your chest this may be linked. It could also be the throat if you get symptoms of indigestion and heart burn, at the same time it may be an ulcer. You should always tell anyone who treats you. You need prednisolone to take home with you, other than EpiPen prednisolone will stop your throat closing over.

Comment from: Alexis, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: August 24

I have a lot of people in my family with behavioral health disorders, many of whom took medications to help with them. Many in my family had problems with Risperdal and I told my doctor that. She didn't listen to me and I didn't realize she prescribed it to me, it was called risperidone. I took it and within an hour, I started feeling like I was wearing a silver necklace but I wasn't wearing any jewelry. Then, after 3 hours, I was having trouble breathing and at 5 hours I was in the hospital with anaphylaxis.

Comment from: Bugsuid, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 16

I have had many allergies from birth; primarily horse, cow, dog, cat, ragweed, golden rod, hay, and manure. I got a yellow fever vaccine prior to a trip to South America. They told me to wait 1 hour. After 45 minutes I got impatient and wanted to leave; they asked if I had any symptoms, I replied no. A friend drove me home, dropped me off at the head of my street, and I started to walk home. It seemed to take a long time so I looked at my watch; my entire arm was swollen, above the watchband; walking became difficult; it seemed that I was walking through marshmallows with a soft, squishy floor and heavy legs and feet. I made it home, my husband put me to bed and I awoke several hours later feeling tired but otherwise normal.

Comment from: Clarice, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 31

I developed asthma when aged 7, after having bronchitis. After that I started getting sensitive to lots of things. I had anaphylactic type reactions to my great aunt’s German shepherd dog where my eyes went red were very itchy watery and swollen. My lips swelled up and I got extremely wheezy. This subsided eventually after leaving her house. I was about 9. Then in my early teens I had a problem breathing after eating homemade lemon curd which contains eggs and eggs had often made me vomit. Then I was about 15 when I had a severe allergic reaction after eating kippers. I went blue and unconscious. The injection of adrenaline given to me by the doctor who was called out saved my life. At that time anaphylaxis was not mentioned. I'm sure this is what these incidences were. There are certain other things I avoid as well as the above. I do not carry an EpiPen as my present doctors do not seem to take what I say seriously.


Common Allergies: Symptoms and Signs See Slideshow
Comment from: constantfear, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 15

Ten years ago I was given Celebrex (anti-inflammatory) medication for an injury. I had been taking this medication for 5 days, however on the fifth day approximately 20 minutes after taking the tablet I started to feel hot and itchy all over my body. Within 1 minute I became very breathless and it felt like I had a pea in my throat and then the pea increased to what felt like a tennis ball in my throat. The only way I could breathe was to cough. I was transported to the hospital, arriving there within 15 minutes of symptoms starting. I don’t remember arriving at the hospital but do remember waking up and being told I had been given an adrenaline shot because I had gone into anaphylactic shock. Life has not been the same as I have had reactions to most medications since this event.

Comment from: OMalley1118, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I have never had any allergies until a month ago. I awoke at 3 am feeling as though I was on fire. My skin was bright red from my hair to my hips. My skin felt very tight. My face was swollen, with my eyes almost swollen shut. My throat felt heavy and tight, and I kept trying to clear it. I took Benadryl and had my husband drive me to the emergency room. I was given IV medications and sent home to follow up with an allergist. Since then, I have had 5 subsequent events of anaphylaxis. Allergy testing has not revealed anything definitive. I carry an EpiPen with me everywhere. I am frustrated and terrified. As a nurse, I understand just how serious this could prove one day. I wish I had an answer as to what the trigger is.

Comment from: Cllayton, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 30

I went into anaphylaxis shock in May of 2011. My hands and feet started to burn like when your hands get too cold. Then I had cramping in my bowels and the whites of my eyes turned red, hands and wrist began to swell, then my tongue started to swell to the point I could hardly talk. All this that happened, according to my doctors, was due to allergic reaction to pollens and animal dander. They tell me this is very rare.

Comment from: Lizzy#1460, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 02

I ate some broiled lobster tails and less than an hour later I was nauseated and dizzy and fainted on the way to the bathroom. I had tongue and facial swelling, vomiting and diarrhea. I was given Benadryl and an injection with steroids and medication for nausea.

Comment from: living with it, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 18

I have been living with severe allergies all of my life. I have found it amazing what you can get used to. There is no telling when I will have a reaction. Luckily, as I have gotten older I am not allergic to as many foods as I once was. But I never let my guard down. I've simply been so terrified, after years and years of emergency room visits, and never knowing if the next will be my last. I'm currently only known to be severely allergic to fish and certain nuts. Until the age of 12/13, there were only about 10 to 15 foods that I could actually eat. I look back at my boyhood and wonder how I survived at all. I know my own parents wonder the same. I also know that I suffer from the mental trauma of dealing with this for so many years. I am extremely thankful that I am much better than that kid I once was. But to this day, I can't think of anything that is more frightening than the next time I have a reaction. I also developed asthma around the age of 6 and eczema, of course.

Comment from: rleo, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 14

I have had four episodes of what I thought was anaphylaxis in the past month. Each time I had a pretty quick response to foods I had suspected were a problem before. I went to the doctor yesterday after an episode the night before and she didn't seem all that interested and asked me what I expected her to do at this point (after the worst was over). So, I don't even know if it was actually anaphylaxis. Here is what happened all four times: I suddenly felt like a had a huge lump in my throat (I described it as feeling like someone was pushing their knee into my throat), I felt like someone was sitting on my chest all three times and the last time I felt a sudden and severe pain between my shoulder blades that went through down into my stomach. I vomited repeatedly, I felt panicky, I had hives on my neck and chest, my ear canals itched like mad, and my scalp itched, I felt claustrophobic, and I guess lightheaded though I was so distracted by all the other symptoms that that didn't seem too bad. My doctor said if I had shortness of breath I should have gone to the doctor and I kind of got the feeling that she suspected a panic attack and that if I didn't die then it wasn't anaphylaxis. I don't believe it was a panic attack. I took several doses of Benadryl throughout the night. I just am unsure about the shortness of breath issue. I guess I did feel shortness of breath, but I wasn't gasping for breath. I didn't go to the emergency room because I can't afford it, but I think the doctor blew me off because I didn't call an ambulance or something.

Comment from: Inam, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 11

With anaphylaxis I thought I won't breathe the next second. I was choking, coughing and really miserable. My chest was really tight and felt that it was not accepting any oxygen intake. My heart beat was so loud that I could hear it in my ears.


Anaphylaxis See what bee, wasp, and hornet stings look like along with other bites that can cause allergic reactions and medical emergencies See Images
Comment from: Scared, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 07

I have allergies and asthma. I was eating my meal when I 'shut down'. I tried to relax but the experience was so fast. I either passed out or blacked out. I couldn't move however, my legs were jumping up and down. Being alone, I couldn't get my EpiPen. I heard my dog bark at me and brought me out of the anaphylaxis attack although my legs were still jumping, numb and picky. Very scary, especially when you're lone.

Comment from: michaels, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: April 17

I"m happy I found this thread, if only because it explains what"s happening to me right now. I"ve been getting allergy shot treatment for a few months now and recently the dosage was increased. Last night, shortly after getting the shots, I had a brisk mile walk to get to a movie screening I had to be at for work. Midway through the movie, my face became extremely hot, almost on fire, especially around my ears. By the time I got home, I had severe abdominal pain, pain in my anus (probably due to swelling), trouble breathing, swollen throat glands and hives/swelling on my arms and face around my mouth and eyes.

Comment from: katieRN, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

I was recently stung by a hornet or wasp on my wrist right on a vein, which is probably why my reaction was severe. I took Benadryl within 5 min., but 10 min. later my head was pounding, and I was weak with rapid heart rate and breathing. My daughter luckily was home and used the Epipen in my thigh. I was then in and out of consciousness and had an urge to have a bowel movement, but I was incredibly weak and not able to stay awake. My family dragged me to the bathroom, (after calling the ambulance), where I was unconscious when I wasn't vomiting. The EMTs gave me oxygen, IV Benadryl and Solu Medrol. My blood pressure in the ER was very low (80/30) with tachycardia. I don't understand why I had no rash or throat swelling unless epi took care of this. They kept me overnight with IV fluids and Solu Medrol. Now I will keep Epipen close by, but I am afraid to ever have this happen again.

Comment from: JES, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

I have had three anaphylactic events, two of which required hospitalization. I also have bilateral shoulder shrugging due to restless arm syndrome and the ER doctors get side-tracked with that and fail to treat for my allergies. The last time my husband, a dentist, assured the ER doctor that this was my third event, but he was told it wasn't an allergic reaction. Finally, after they had ruled out seizure or stroke, I was treated with IV Benadryl and Prednisone hours later. I was non-responsive for eight hours. It’s frustrating to have medical directives or an alert bracelet when the ER doctors just ignore them.

Comment from: Guest, 55-64 Female Published: October 09

I experienced anaphylaxis the other day. I had a very intense episode of hives, and I had to go to the emergency room. It began with my palms itching, then the itching spread all over my body, face, and scalp. I had tongue and throat swelling, and I felt chilled after every new wave of hives and itching. I took two tablespoons of Benadryl at home. I went to the hospital after noticing the throat swelling, and they gave me an epinephrine shot that helped some. They also gave me a steroid pill and Zantac. They gave me prescription of Epipen, which I now carry. My primary doctor did the same. He sent me to an allergist who said until it happens again we won't have any idea why it happened. He also said it wasn't life threatening. (Really?) How odd that he'd think that. Still, I carry the Epipen no matter what he said.

Comment from: Grandma, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I was in the hospital for double pneumonia. After I had been there about 2 hours, my blood sugar was taken. It was 156, somebody panicked I think, I was given 3 units of insulin and in about 10 minutes I was in the throws of being in shock. Several nurses about 7 surrounded me and tried to get my breathing under control. I was also given Benadryl. They said later that I was on 100% oxygen. I was then taken to ICU and spent 3 days there. I was then transferred to a nursing floor. They then discovered that I had an ecoli blood infection along with the pneumonia. After a weeks stay and many test later I was discharged.

Comment from: MC, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I have had 3 episodes of anaphylaxis shock so far. 1st time was in turkey, I was stung by a hornet. All other times have been in the UK. When I had it, it was the most frightening thing I have ever experienced, as soon as I’m stung I get flushing of the skin, anxiety feeling that I’m going to die, fast breathing my BP drops very low and my heart starts racing. The sight of the sting also swells up and is very red and wide-spread. The last time I had it was in May, I had to be taken to hospital by ambulance and was put on a drip. I found out that I’m also allergic to certain food as well as insect stings. I now carry the epi-pen and wear a Medi-alert bracelet.

Comment from: Mamabear, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 10

My son is 19 and he has been having panic attacks for the past year. They are continuing to get worse. I ran across this site by accident and read the part about exercising. He has been lifting weight vigorously for the past 6 months and the only thing that seems to help him is Phenergan which is what I was trying to research using it as when having an allergic reaction. He does not break out in hives, but it is usually around the time he eats or after he exercises. His meals have change from white bread to wheat and only wheat product, whey protein shakes etc. and he has actually lost 80 pounds since December. I would like any feedback on this because no one will listen to anything else other than it has to be panic attacks and he is losing his life.


Allergies can best be described as: See Answer
Comment from: T, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 25

I've had four major incidents of anaphylaxis, all of them very scary. During one incident, I was already preparing myself to die when the doctor finally decided to give me the adrenalin shot I had asked for from the time I ran into the emergency room. I've been told by a friend who is a doctor that there was no way they would have taken me seriously, as I ran in by myself and could still speak, although I was saying I couldn’t breathe. My friend told me I should have been conserving the little air I could get in instead of shouting like I was doing, but I wanted to get someone's attention to my plight as soon as possible before I was unable to speak at all. Doctors don’t listen very well. I now carry Epipen and wear a Medic Alert bracelet.

Comment from: nancy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I was visiting my Grandma in a hospital. After being there about 45 minutes I felt sick to my stomach, then I started to see stars like I was going to pass out and then became flush, hot and sweaty. This happened all within minutes. I began to feel my nasal cavity begin to swell inside my mouth. I excused my self to my family and left the hospital within a couple of miles of the hospital the symptoms began to disappear. Was this some type of allergic reaction to something in the air at the hospital? I do have other not so intense allergies like hay fever, milk and drugs like Ceclor.

Comment from: littlefolks, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

On August 9, I experienced Anaphylaxis for the first and I hope the last time. I was bitten (stung) by a yellow jacket. About 4-5 minutes later I began to feel faint. I was hot yet I had cold chills. My heart was racing and I began to feel short of breath. I had never been allergic to anything therefore had never experienced anything like this. I called my doctor and she had me call 911. I received an Epinephrine injection and an oral medication. Once my symptoms began to subside the doctor suggested that I lay in the dark and relax for 20 more minutes to help everything cease. She then told me to go home and get in the bed and relax for the rest of the day. This was a very bad experience and I hope that I never have to go through it again. If I do, I am prepared. I now carry an EpiPen where ever I go.

Comment from: Lisa, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

I had a severe allergic reaction to a medication 36 hours ago, hives everywhere on my body. I wonder if there still is a chance of anaphylactic shock.

Comment from: ELIXX, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

Due to sexual relations with a latex contraceptive (in spite of my latex allergy), it came off of the penis and attached to my inner vaginal wall and had to be torn off, removing a thin layer of skin. The next day I started feeling like I had the flu and anaphylactic shock symptoms started. My chest started closing up. My face, neck and inner vaginal walls swelled up and it became very difficult to urinate. After taking two days of Benadryl and DuoNeb breathing treatments I am beginning to feel better but will do a follow up with both my family doctor and OB-gyn. This is a risk I will not take again no matter what my sexual urges try to get me to do.

Comment from: CathO, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 20

I am a beekeeper and it was time to collect the honey. My husband and I set out and walked the half mile to our hive and opened it up. My bees are usually very docile but on this particular day they were wicked and proceeded to sting us both thru our gloves and protective clothing. My lips swelled immediately and I knew it was an allergic reaction. After a few minutes I started to scratch and we sealed up the hive and walked home fast. The rash was like rice crispies under my skin with really bad hives and parts were bright red. We drove to the local clinic and I was trying to hold it together, meaning my vision faded, I had violent pains in my chest, I was agitated and retching. My husband had no idea how bad I was until he helped me out of the car and I collapsed at the door step. He says my eyes were rolling in my head and I had wet myself. Everything went white. My conscious thought came back and I was lying on a couch getting my second adrenaline shot and wearing an oxygen mask. After a third shot, the doctor told me I had no pulse and they could not get a blood pressure reading.

Comment from: juliaATdfl, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

I developed an allergy to the allium (onion) family three years ago. I have a severe sensitivity and will react to the inhalation of the allergen. My symptoms have been diagnosed by an immunologist as anaphylactic. I become confused, disconnected, have blurred vision and a drop in blood pressure causing collapse. If ingested, my tongue feels burned; my lips, face, and nose swell; I get asthma; and I get a sense that my vocal chords have been seized. I might itch intensely under the skin, but I have no hives. With a bad reaction, my limbs feel heavy, and fluid streams from eyes and nose. I have no sense of impending doom. I respond well to adrenaline and oxygen and find additional IV fluids very helpful. I carry four EpiPens, steroids, liquid antihistamines and wear a Medi Alert bracelet.

Comment from: Bubbles, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

I actually had an anaphylactic reaction while getting allergy testing done. After the first 20 were given to me I started having a flushed, warm feeling. I then became itchy to my ears, eyes and throat. My skin was cool, pale, and clammy. My blood pressure dropped to 90/50. Within three to four minutes I started having intense abdominal and uterine cramps. Every time I sat up I was feeling faint. I was extremely nauseous. The ENT doctor called it a vagal reaction, but I insisted on 911 since he refused to give me Epipen or Benadryl. Once I arrived to the ER I had hives from my head to my pelvic area, my chest was bright red and I was extremely anxious. I am so glad I sought higher medical attention because I felt like I was going to die in that doctor’s office.

Comment from: Annemarie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

I had my first anaphylaxis shock when I was on holiday in the U.S. I am from England. I was in a restaurant and had eaten coconut shrimp. By the time the main course arrived, I couldn't breath. I went to a hospital and thought it was just a one-time thing. Then one day, I ate a chocolate that contained coconut and within minutes, I was itching all over and I collapsed. I was rushed to the hospital, and I had another attack in the hospital. It turned out after tests that I was allergic to soya and coconut. I now carry two Epipens with me at all times. I had a third shock again in a restaurant. I did not realize that the food had been cooked in soya oil. Again it started with flushing and problems being able to breathe. I was rushed to a hospital and thankfully, I never had a second attack. I had another attack two weeks ago. I’m not sure at all what caused it, but I had just eaten some cake, which I guess may have contained soya. This time I administered my Epipen myself. That feeling when you can't get your breathe is terrifying, yet in a strange way, a calmness comes over you. Everyone else around is panicking, but you learn to stay calm. It's not a pleasant thing to have because it can be so frightening when it first happens, but it is something you learn to manage.

Comment from: Maggie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

I was recently prescribed a drug called Ketek to cure chronic sinusitis. (This drug, like all, has a million possible reactions, but I did not think that I would fit into the "Allergy - Very Rare Severe Allergenic Reactions” category that included angioedema and anaphylaxis, neither of which I had ever heard of. Within three days, I felt my sinus problem was not improving and was in fact getting worse. By day four, I thought I perhaps had pneumonia or definitely bronchitis. I had difficulty breathing, a terrible cough, and constant severe heartburn. Thinking that I must have let the antibiotic run its course, and because it was the weekend and my general practitioner was not working, I purchased a cough medicine that helped slightly. My chest was gurgling and rattling, and breathing was difficult. On the Monday when I visited my general practitioner, she was alarmed at the condition of my chest and immediately put me on a drip and nebulizer to try to correct my breathing and release the mucous. I am to continue with antibiotic injections for three days, plus now I am on a different antibiotic to alleviate the original problem of sinusitis.

Comment from: dirtflirt, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I’m a 37-year-old mom who has suffered with anaphylaxis all my life. I have had so many episodes, I have lost count! I’m allergic to lots of foods (too many to mention), and it’s gotten to the stage where I can eat cooked carrots, but not raw. I can eat roast pork but not a pork chop. What scares me is, my body temperature rises for no reason, and my body reacts with anaphylaxis. I manage day to day the best I can and live as normal life as possible. I know what I can and can’t eat. I occasionally stumble across something new that I become allergic to. I spent the day in the hospital today. The doctors don’t know what set this anaphylaxis off this time, as I didn’t do anything different.

Comment from: Andres, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 25

I am an auto repair mechanic. I've had four anaphylactic episodes during the last five years at work. I've had all the symptoms: difficulty breathing and swallowing, hives, itchy eyes, pale skin, heavy sweating, anxiety, and a heavy, swollen face. I suspect radiator antifreeze to be the cause although I have not been able to isolate it as the only one. I know for a fact that I am very allergic to antifreeze, but when these episodes have happened, I have not had my hands on it. I believe heavy evaporated concentrations of antifreeze in the air are the possible cause. I have handled antifreeze for a long time and on a regular basis, but there are only these few times where I've had this terrible reaction. My disadvantage is that I completely lost my sense of smell a few years back, so it is difficult to know how to avoid whatever is causing this to happen.

Comment from: Maggie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 25

I have suffered numerous anaphylactic reactions to numerous drugs. I can take something for years (for example, codeine) and then I take it and have an anaphylactic reaction. I react to codeine, morphine, local anesthetics, wasp stings, and almost any strong pain killer. This is unfortunate, as I also suffer chronic pain from ruptured discs in my lower back that are untreatable because of the allergies.

Comment from: alexsuepal, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I do agree with the previous comment that anaphylaxis is a difficult experience. My episodes have shown me that medical staff are not familiar with the symptoms of anaphylaxis and are more frightened by the shock than the patient, who is usually unconscious or on the way. I have never felt afraid, only frustrated by the medical staff trying to second guess the symptoms and never being supportive until it is too late and only epinephrine can save me. I now (after the third time) have an EpiPen from a very professional doctor and hope the avoid the emergency situation in the future.

Comment from: ajs262, Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I get an anaphylaxis reaction to diet sugars. So far all but sucralose have affected me. I can feel my airway closing and have gone to the local emergency room with this reaction. Have you heard of anyone else ever having this type of experience?

Comment from: Roseann, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 25

I have anaphylactic reactions to anything with “caine” in it. My pulse and blood pressure dramatically decline. I begin to sweat profusely, and speech is impossible. I am paralyzed, unable to move. I can see. It's the worst feeling in the world, because I could be mistaken for dead right away. My reactions are so intense, that I cannot be tested anymore.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 05

Anaphylaxis is the most terrifying thing. I am filled with the conviction that I'm going to die - feelings of total panic. My BP gets very low, but I'm still semi conscious. I find that if people can talk to me when I'm "out" it helps tremendously. Most doctors and nurses do not do this.