Patient Comments: Anaphylaxis - Symptoms and Signs

What symptoms and signs did you experience with anaphylaxis?

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.

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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 (radioallergosorbenttest) 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Patient Comments

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Anaphylaxis - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your 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?
Anaphylaxis - Treatment Question: What kind of treatment did you get for anaphylaxis?

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