Patient Comments: Anaphylaxis - Symptoms and Signs


What symptoms and signs did you experience with anaphylaxis? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Linda, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

I am 61 and have struggled with arthritis for about 6 years, some bad and some not. I'm trying to figure out what's been going on for about 3 months now. In November 2016 I went and had x-rays, and the provider couldn't see anything but gave me a shot in my knee area. This worked for a couple of months with little pain. Now it is back with a vengeance, really bad now I can hardly walk, most times. My remedies have been rest, elevating my leg and ibuprofen. And when it is not bad, walk gently. Right now I'm getting sharp shooting pain in my knee down to my side bone towards my calf inner side on my left leg.

Comment from: perfectionist, (Patient) Published: July 20

Several months ago while in a meeting my scalp started itching like crazy. I also got very hot, but nothing else happened; I drank some water and had no more symptoms. Today around noon my scalp started itching like crazy again. The palms of my hands also. I decided to take a shower and wash my hair, hoping that would help. By that time my skin on my arms and stomach was itching; I took a brush to them. I got out of shower, dried off, and was still itching and had profuse sweating. I fell to the floor, sweat pouring out of me. I got up, my eyes were swollen shut, face fire red, and tongue swollen. I had a little diarrhea, vomited a little. I lay for half hour in my sweat. I sat up, and passed out. Entire episode lasted an hour and a half. I have no allergies, except poison ivy. Breakfast was a half cup of coffee, a cup of chocolate milk, and a small amount of oatmeal. After breakfast, I did take an Alieve for a sinus headache.

Comment from: nuni71, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

I have had 3 anaphylactic reactions that required medical intervention but 3 in-between that were dealt with differently. My first reaction was after eating fish tacos (I had eaten fish my whole life). It started with flushing across my whole body, feet itching, then itching in mouth, ears and throat. I drove myself to the closest emergency room (ER) and passed out when I walked in. I had severe diarrhea, blood pressure was low, but pulse rate high. I was give IV epinephrine, steroid and prednisone. Then I had a couple episodes that started with just the flushing, diarrhea, and slight itching but did not feel like throat was closing. Once was after eating fries, once after ribs and third time with skin testing in allergist's office. They think there could have been cross contact with first two, but allergist thought it was a vasovagal response, and then sent me to cardiologist for every possible test. Heart is fine. Next I drank tea, (it had tuna oil added in it that I was unaware of) then started again; diarrhea, flushing, throat itching and was taken to the ER and given epinephrine, etc. Four days later while driving, it started again. I had not eaten anything. I was taken by ambulance to ER and they think possible rebound reaction to the one 4 days prior. All RAST (radioallergosorbent test) and skin tests came back negative, even though I had symptoms during the skin tests (just no raised bumps). I am terrified to eat, and feel like no doctor so far has been helpful in determining what this is.

Comment from: Nurse Ana, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 12

My nurse friend said she hung clothes on the line the weekend prior to her anaphylactic reaction. She said the morning she had noticed a little dishwashing residue in her coffee mug but poured coffee in it anyway. When she picked a piece of paper off the hospital floor, her hands began to burn and her face to swell. She was admitted overnight for observation but has no idea what triggered the anaphylaxis.

Comment from: Myleftfoot48, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

On 05/09/2013, I experienced a high heart rate, clammy skin, severe itching and swelling of my hands, eyes, neck, lips and tongue and unconsciousness at home. I soiled my pants, went into respiratory failure and coded while en route to hospital (epinephrine 1000mg, famotidine 20mg, albuterol 2.5mg). This was a first time event. I was admitted and stayed for 3 days. Many tests were done (CBC, EKG, Chest X-ray, blood gases, CT head and C-spine, swallow test…), I was also given breathing treatments and oxygen. I had very low blood pressure (63/32), bed was lowered and IV given. I was discharged after 3 days. I had follow up with primary care giver, prescription for EpiPens and tested by allergist/immunologist a month later. Diagnosis was idiopathic anaphylaxis, same as 05/12/2013 diagnosis. I"m fearful that it"ll happen again and I don"t know the trigger.

Comment from: Mikey07nj, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 07

I started with tonsil cancer, human papillomavirus positive with a 95 percent cure rate. That was 3 1/2 years ago. Now I have bone cancer, tumors in my liver and lymph nodes. Well, I went on an immunotherapy Kyetruda. In 12 weeks it killed all the bone cancer but the lymphoma is getting worse and my liver doctor doesn't see any upside to treating the liver. I mean I've been fighting for a long time and am grateful for that time I just can't see why they can't treat the 2 cancers at the same time. Mine is very rare the cell is not supposed to survive in all the places it went. Seems you should kill something that isn't supposed to survive anyway.

Comment from: Terrytunes60, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 03

I contracted pneumonia, diabetes and sepsis on the same day. No one is sure how long all of this was brewing. Four years later I am on dialysis.


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: gotta do it, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 28

Mine are caused by an unknown food allergy, bread products are the cause about 95% of the time (only well flavored or multi-grain). I get a 5 to 10 minute warning: wheezing and abdominal cramping. If I take an anti-histamine right away, it significantly reduces the symptoms that follow the "warning" symptoms. The longer I question (during the first 5-10 minutes) the worse the reaction. I do not get hives, but my entire face and neck get red, sometimes a bit freakishly red. Ears, back of throat and ears itch. Nose plugs after suddenly running like a faucet. I develop short gasping breaths and wheezing. It usually takes two to three trips to the restroom to finally get to the near "water" bowel movement, but it is during this time period that the reaction goes from 5 mph to 100 mph. This is when the "how many minutes has it been since I took anti-histamine" plays a big role. Less than 5 means plan on suffering pretty good (the bad ones involve my voice changing and not getting it back to normal for 1 to 5 hours) 10 minutes means wheezing and semi-shallow breathing will be over in 5 to 10 minutes.

Comment from: Tristram, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 08

When my anaphylaxis started, I woke up to severe itching. I took a shower and it intensified. Shortness of breath, heart pounding, and panic set in. I then collapsed. Shortness of breath and itching intensified. The EMS first responder had no meds. They couldn't get my wrist pulse. I concentrated on my breathing. I felt at ease things became black and white. Pixels started to disappear. My blood pressure was 88/52 pulse of 50. Then I had a mild seizure in the ambulance.

Comment from: Lauren, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

I am 49 years, dealing with fibroid and trying to eat better to shrink it. I do not know for sure but I suspect that I suffer with anaphylaxis. Every time I exercise or walk my legs begin to itch 3 minutes into the walk. It gets so bad I feel like I am going to lose my mind if I keep going. The itch is very overwhelming. Usually it's from my waist down to my knees. My legs feel hot, welted and I get small red patches that look like small blood spots under my skin. When I take off my clothes this area is red and hot as well. I want to work out as I am not fat or heavy but out of shape. I weigh 149 pounds and am 5 ft. 4 inches.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 11

I had been in the hospital for 4 days for Staff Infection. On two different antibiotics. One was K-flex. Upon discharge I was told to take K-flex 3 times a day. I was home for about 1 hour when I took the first K-flex. Wham, immediately I was itching all over, very flushed, heart beating wildly in my ears, and I was having a hard time breathing. EMT's were called and they gave me a large dose of Benadryl, oxygen, and started an IV along with two breathing treatments. They then took me to the hospital for more treatment. All of this from an IV antibiotic given in the hospital for two days and one oral after I got home. EMT's explained to me that my body had just had too much of the K-flex and I went into shock. I now have to take Benadryl for a few days every 6 hours, 75mg. Needless to say; this medication will be put on my allergic to list. I will be getting an EPI-pen from my doctor to carry with me always.

Comment from: Rose, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 14

I am 44 years old and have been dealing with this for about 10 years. It starts with severe diarrhea, then the itching and hives. I just recently ended up in the hospital because my throat started closing and my tongue was swelling. I have been to an allergist who said go to the ER next time and have them draw blood. I asked them to and they didn't. They said I was not having any kind of reaction because of the diarrhea and the vomiting. I have probably had about 7 attacks with this being the worst. I have an epi pen, but did not have it with me that night. This time I felt like I was going to die and the doctor's just pooh pooed the idea of some type of allergic reaction. Don't know what to do now.

Comment from: cher9737, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 05

I carry an epi-pen kit because I am allergic to bees and all related to bees. Also some foods and milk.

Comment from: peteC, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 07

I suffered an anaphylaxis melt down following an increase of aspirin when I was in the hospital this past July due to a heart attack. The symptoms were swelling, irritations, sweats, headache and difficulty breathing which thank goodness the CCU RN's were able to handle quickly and professionally. In my instance the aspirin dosage was increased from 1 x 0.5 twice daily to 3 x 100mg three times per day. It has been a long recovery road from that incident.

Comment from: Lojo, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 07

Severe sore throat, metallic taste in my mouth, runny nose, difficulty in talking and breathing, swelling and tightness in throat, itchy face, faintness, low blood pressure and oxygen saturation level of 85%.


Allergies can best be described as: See Answer
Comment from: gee tan, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 26

I had my first anaphylactic reaction 7 months ago. I felt light-headed, numbness, and a tingling sensation that started from my face going down to my entire body. I felt like I was going to pass out. I was pale, my heart was racing, had difficulty in breathing, and chest tightness. Good thing I was still able to self-inject the epinephrine. On my second and third attack, I somehow know the feeling already that I am going to have one, which made me panic more. Then I had my skin testing done and it came out all negative on both panels. Lately, I am having reactions to food that I was never allergic to before. Having that experience was very scary. I had lost weight and whenever I have the sense of hunger, my face starts to tingle, my hands and feet sweaty, and a little bit of difficulty in breathing after eating. I do not know anymore whether it’s an anxiety/panic attack or the real anaphylaxis happening.

Published: May 23

I had my first encounter with anaphylaxis just last week. I am allergic to next to nothing: dry grass and a couple trees, but I have out grown the majority of these. It happened during swim practice when the tips of my thumbs started to get swollen. It then spread to all the tips of my fingers to the point where they looked like grapes, color and all. It then spread to my eyes which where the only thing that felt itchy. It slowly spread to the rest of my face and then my tongue. The emergency staff was great but I wish I knew what I am now carrying an EpiPen everywhere with me for.

Comment from: Gail, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 28

After being bitten by about 40 or so bees, I started feeling very hot and perspiring, couldn't even walk, my heart rate was too fast, I could feel the blood rushing through my body and had to make a bowel movement many times. Also could not talk at all. I was helped to the car, and closet Hospital was 20kms away. Temp low when I arrived and even lower 2 hours later. Was treated with injection, oxygen etc. I hope not. It was really awful.

Comment from: itchy58, 55-64 Female Published: February 04

I usually awaken early in the morning with nausea and stomach cramps.After maybe 20 minutes of this the palms of my hands and soles of my feet start to itch intensely.You cannot imagine how intense the itch is .I usually use my burber carpet and twist my feet as if I am doing "the twist" All the while scratching my palms. The itch will gradually spread to my sides ,back ,legs and all over.After scratching every area I scratch the hives will appear.I have gotten diahrea and my thorat feels odd like a heavy feeling and makes my speech slured. I most often take liquid benadryl as soon as my palms start to itch by then I know its my allergy.If I take the benadryl soon enough I don't get the heavy feeling in my throat.I thnk it is sesame seeds.

Comment from: ps, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

Scratchy throat which worsened to wheezing, watering eyes, aching teeth, diarrhea, then edema of eye lids.


Could I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers See Slideshow

From WebMD Logo