Patient Comments: Anaphylaxis - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with anaphylaxis.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Anaphylaxis - Symptoms and Signs Question: What symptoms and signs did you experience with anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis - Possible Causes Question: Do you know what caused your case of anaphylaxis? Please share your experience.
Anaphylaxis - Diagnosis Question: Discuss the events that led to a diagnosis of anaphylaxis. Did you end up in the ER?
Anaphylaxis - Prevention Question: If you've experienced anaphylaxis, how do you prevent another occurrence? Do you have an EpiPen?

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