What Are the Two Crucial Signs of Anaphylaxis?

Medically Reviewed on 10/13/2022
The two crucial signs of an anaphylactic reaction are as follows: tightness of the throat and swelling over the body.

Anaphylaxis is defined as a group of symptoms exhibited by the body in reaction to a particular substance. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening reaction and therefore must be promptly spotted and treated.

The two crucial signs of an anaphylactic reaction are as follows:

  1. The tightness of the throat
  2. Swelling over the body


What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

The most common and less common causes of anaphylaxis are listed below:


  • Foods: most commonly peanuts, tree nuts, egg, fish, shellfish, cow’s milk, and wheat
  • Medications: most commonly antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Allergen immunotherapy
  • Insect stings (bees and wasps)
  • Unidentified (no cause found; idiopathic anaphylaxis)

Less common

  • Exercise
  • Natural rubber latex
  • Semen
  • Hormonal changes: menstrual factors
  • Topical medications (chlorhexidine and polysporin)
  • Transfusions
  • COVID-19 vaccines are rare, per CDC

What are the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis?

Severe symptoms and signs, which may occur within 30 minutes, include the following:

The common signs of anaphylaxis found in other areas of the human body are as follows:

Types of anaphylactic reactions

Anaphylactic reactions may be divided into three types:

  1. Uniphasic reactions: These reactions have symptoms that get rapidly worse, but the symptoms go away entirely once treated.
  2. Biphasic reactions: Symptoms may be mild or severe in the beginning and then disappear before symptoms increasingly get worse. These reactions may follow hours after the initial anaphylactic reaction.
  3. Protracted anaphylaxis: Symptoms may persist for days.

Death may occur within minutes but rarely has been reported to occur days to weeks after the initial anaphylactic episode.


Allergies can best be described as: See Answer

Anaphylaxis treatment and prevention

Overview of anaphylaxis management
The flowchart gives an overview of anaphylaxis management.

If you suspect anaphylaxis, you should get an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot without any delay. Arrange someone to call 911 for emergency medical help. If left untreated, it can prove to be fatal. 

Anaphylaxis management also involves avoiding the trigger factor to prevent relapse. It is always better to prevent anaphylaxis rather than treat it. There are some general avoidance measures listed below:

Basic avoidance measures for anaphylaxis chart
Trigger Avoidance principle
  • Advise all health care personnel of any allergies. Remember and describe symptoms involved in a reaction to previous drugs.
    • Ask a doctor whether the prescribed medication contains the drug(s) one is allergic to.
Insect stings
  • Avoid areas where stinging insects are attracted and avoid insect nests.
  • Avoid bright clothing, perfume, hair spray, or lotion that might attract insects.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing, long trousers, and shoes while outdoors.
  • Carefully read all labels. Foods containing milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish must be labeled by law.
  • Ask specifically about ingredients when eating at restaurants.
  • Do not eat foods with unknown ingredients.
  • It is typically best to avoid foods with precautionary labeling ("may contain," "made in a factory with," etc.)
  • Avoid all latex products.
  • Inform health care professionals of latex allergy.
  • Make sure the hospital or physician’s office has latex-free supplies.

Apart from avoiding triggers, you may also want to keep yourself safe by following these preventive measures:

  • Carry an epinephrine auto-injector.
  • Wear an identification card or jewelry noting your condition and offending allergens.
  • Seek the help of an allergist.
Medically Reviewed on 10/13/2022
Fischer, D., Vander Leek, T.K., Ellis, A.K. et al. "Anaphylaxis." Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol 14 (Suppl 2), 54 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13223-018-0283-4. <https://aacijournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13223-018-0283-4>.

Ramsey, Allison. "Anaphylaxis." MedicineNet. Jan. 6, 2021. <https://www.medicinenet.com/anaphylaxis/article.htm>.