Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. It may start suddenly within seconds or minutes or take a few hours to develop the following contact with an allergen, a substance that is capable of producing an allergic reaction.

A severe anaphylactic reaction is sometimes known as anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis can cause the blood pressure to drop quickly, resulting in fainting or even sustained loss of consciousness. It can also cause severe breathing difficulties.

Common food triggers:

  • Peanuts, tree nuts
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Fruit
  • Dairy products such as milk and eggs.

Sometimes the cause may be unknown, but anaphylaxis can also be triggered by:

  • Venom from stinging or biting insects. Wasp and bee venom is the most common insect allergens. On rare occasions stings from hornets and bumble bees can also cause allergic reactions
  • Medicine – most commonly antibiotics, aspirin or ibuprofen
  • Latex.

The body can suffer various reactions to things such as stings, chemicals, food, or gases. In most cases, the reaction is mild but uncomfortable. For example, if you were stung by a bee on your hand, your hand would hurt and swell. With someone who suffers from an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis shock, their body would react violently, causing severe anxiety, red blotchy skin(especially around the neck and face), swelling of the mouth, tongue, face, and neck, and a rapid pulse.  As the reaction becomes more severe, they would suffer from breathing difficulties and in some cases respiratory arrest.

Allergic reactions can happen because of drugs, poisons, plants, inhalation, or insect stings.


  • Altered level of consciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Burning sensation in the chest and throat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe abdominal cramping
  • Rashes/Hives.


  • Activate EMS, place the patient in a position of comfort
  • Look for obvious bites and stings 
  • Locate the patients prescribed medicine, inhaler or Auto-Injector
  • Assist the patient to use the device.

Once the drug has been administered, the patient usually starts to feel better within minutes. However, it is still an EMS Emergency