What are the symptoms?

What are the symptoms?

If you think you have come into contact with your trigger, make sure you have your adrenaline auto-injector to hand and use it immediately if you start to experience serious symptoms such as those listed below.

Symptoms and Signs of Anaphylaxis 3

Skin, subcutaneous tissue and mucosa a, b, c

  • Flushing, itching, urticaria (hives), angioedema (swelling of deep dermis, subcutaneous, or submucosal tissue), morbilliform rash (rash that looks like measles), pilor erection
  • Periorbital itching, erythema and oedema; conjunctival erythema, tearing
  • Itching of lips
  • Tongue
  • Palate
  • External auditory canals
  • Swelling of lips
  • Uvula
  • Itching of genitalia, palms, and soles

Respiratory a

  • Nasal itching, congestion, rhinorrhea (runny nose), sneezing
  • Throat itching and tightness, dysphonia, hoarseness, stridor, dry staccato cough
  • Lower airways: increased respiratory rate, shortness of breath, chest tightness, deep cough, wheezing/bronchospasm, decreased peak expiratory flow
  • Cyanosis (blue tinge)
  • Respiratory arrest

Gastrointestinal a

  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting (stringy mucus), diarrhoea, dysphagia

Cardiovascular system a

  • Chest pain
  • Tachycardia, bradycardia (less common), other arrhythmias, palpitations
  • Hypotension, feeling faint, urinary or faecal incontinence, shock
  • Cardiac arrest

Central nervous system a

  • Aura of impending doom, uneasiness (in infants and children, sudden behavioral change, e.g. irritability, cessation of play, clinging to parent);
  • Throbbing
  • Headache (pre-epinephrine), altered mental status, dizziness, confusion, tunnel vision

Other a

  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Cramps and bleeding due to uterine contractions in females


3. J Allergy Clin Immunol Volume 127, Number 3
a Sudden onset of symptoms and signs is characteristic of anaphylaxis. Symptom patterns vary from one patient to another, and even in the same patient, from one anaphylactic episode to another. Only a few symptoms might be present.
b The purpose of listing signs and symptoms in this Table is to aid in prompt recognition of the onset of anaphylaxis and to indicate the possibility of rapid progression to multiorgan system involvement, not to grade severity.
c Skin and mucosal symptoms are reported to occur in 80-90% of patients with anaphylaxis, respiratory tract involvement in up to 70%, gastrointestinal tract involvement in up to 45%, cardiovascular system involvement in up to 45%, and central nervous system involvement in up to 15%.