Severe Allergic Reaction (Anaphylactic Shock)

Question:

Please describe your experience with anaphylaxis Submit Your Comment

Comment from: jalz, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 20

For the last several years, when I have been bitten (or stung) by an ant, I have become itchy all over and started wheezing, sniffling, coughing and it becomes hard to breathe. Recently, I was bitten or stung again and had the same anaphylaxis symptoms but also got dry heaves, headache and was so light-headed that I could not stand up. The symptoms went away after a couple of hours. I have since been prescribed an EpiPen type device and have an appointment to see an allergist.

Comment from: Mkd, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 30

I had my first anaphylaxis reaction yesterday, to a new medication that I had been taking for the past 3 months. Within 5 minutes of taking the medication, I started feeling lightheaded and then all of a sudden I felt my tongue and ears go numb. Thank goodness, I happened to have an EpiPen and I was able to get to it because by the time I did, I felt my throat closing and I was struggling to breathe. I injected the EpiPen and called 911. The emergency room (ER) gave me Benadryl and steroids and watched me for 7 hours.

Comment from: Lea, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

I was drinking lime juice because of a sore throat. I just started sucking juice from a lime half and within seconds I went into anaphylaxis. I couldn't breathe. I had loud sound of breathing trying to find air anywhere I could. Same thing has happened with popcorn and dried pork chips. It seem like forever to get any air. I thought I was going to pass out.

Comment from: DDupu, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 07

I have had 2 anaphylactic reactions so far. First time, it was itchy and tingling hands and feet, then swelling in my face, hands and feet, followed by hives, tingling in my hands and numb finger tips, tunnel vision and then a swollen tongue. They gave me epinephrine and Benadryl. The second time I had anaphylaxis, I had tingling and a rash on my hands, feet and scalp, then severe trouble breathing and had to use my EpiPen.

Comment from: Blondie903, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 07

I have stage 4 metastatic melanoma cancer. I went to the doctor’s office on March 12th for my infusions including a 2nd dose of iron (after 1st dose I was fine which was 3 weeks prior). I went into anaphylactic shock, from which I passed out at home a few hours later. The doctor ordered brain MRI which showed a stroke but brain CT from neck showed brain was fine. I have to get heart ultrasound done now. Wondering if iron was administered too fast (5 minute drip instead of 20 minute), that could be the reason why anaphylaxis happened.

Comment from: Kathy , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 13

I went to the doctor for a routine visit. Ended up having a little sinus infection. They gave me a shot of Rocephin. Within 5 minutes I did not know I was in the world. I went into anaphylactic shock.

Comment from: doph, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 12

I got an anaphylactic shock; sweaty, hot, nauseous, shaking, extremely high blood pressure and heart rate. Felt like I was going to pass out. I had to go to the hospital, the doctor told me I made it up and it was placebo effect purely because I didn’t have rashes or swelling. I was really upset at this response as I knew what I was going through but he has made me question myself this – if one can have anaphylactic shock and not have symptoms of swelling or rashes.

Comment from: Rachelle, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 12

I just had my first ever allergic reaction that I believe to be anaphylaxis. I am a new hobby beekeeper, been stung a couple of times before. This time I was stung on the thigh through jeans (the bee still hanging on). It took a few minutes for me to get any effects other than mild pain from the sting. I got light-headed and dizzy, tasted metal, felt nauseous and had abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Lay down and could barely move or talk. Ambulance was called but it ended up clearing up by itself.

Comment from: gotswolethewrongway, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 06

I have a long list of allergies. I am also asthmatic (untreated, unfortunately). I was getting a CT scan and they gave me contrast right before putting me in. When I came out, I told the nurse my eyes felt strangely itchy. It was dismissed as nothing. Within a few minutes, I had anaphylaxis, my eyelids began seriously swelling up, my tongue began swelling up, and I started having trouble breathing. I thought I was going to die. Nurse rushed around getting Benadryl and stuff to shove into me. Recovered after a bit.

Comment from: Lydia, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 01

I had a mild anaphylaxis 2 months ago... itching hands, weals, swollen lips and tingly tongue. My daughter drove me straight to the general physician (2 minutes down the road), they immediately treated me and I was fine. No idea why. Two days ago the same thing happened but at a must faster rate. My husband called the ambulance and within 7 minutes I was unconscious and unable to breathe. Paramedics intubated me and after about 40 minutes stabilized me enough to be blue lighted to the hospital. But still no idea of cause. I’m terrified now!

SLIDESHOW

Could I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers See Slideshow
Comment from: Star, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 02

My reaction was to a sulfa drug amitriptyline, trade name Elavil. It was my second episode of anaphylaxis, the first one caused by baclofen. I was in ICU for 24 hours for it. Second one, the amitriptyline was given by an emergency room doctor who had my records saying I was allergic to it. I took it at home and was found later nearly dead by a cop friend, hospital brought me back and told my family it was an accidental overdose. I don't trust doctors anymore. Never offered an EpiPen or advice on how to recover. It's been 4 years of long, slow, hard work.

Comment from: Tylerhance925, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: June 19

I had a severe case of cellulitis in my hand. I went to Urgent Care and was given a dose of Rocephin. Immediately after the shot, I had anaphylaxis, I was experiencing dizziness, loss of sight, loss of blood pressure, loss of oxygen, shakiness and tingling. I wasn't able to control my body and was unresponsive. The nurses were rushing to give me oxygen to get me breathing again and wake me up. I stopped reading about four times within 10 minutes and then the cycle continued until the ambulance arrived.

Comment from: Maggiei, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

Two weeks ago after sunning by the pool, getting slightly sunburnt on my forehead and eating salted peanuts my face became very swollen, my neck scratchy, and heart rate 153. I went into emergency room and was put on intravenous drip for 4 hours. Urbason, cortisone, and Polaramine, I/2 liter. I’m still weak and itchy after 2 weeks. The front of my neck is itchy inside. Feel very weak. I’ve had 2 previous anaphylaxis attacks, one because of a bee sting, and another because of penicillin taken with another medicine.

Comment from: [email protected], 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: September 11

My mom was given nifedipine and it almost made her comatose with anaphylaxis. It was in her hospital records that she had sever adverse reaction and should never be given it. On her last hospital stay she was given minoxidil which is in the nifedipine family, and her tongue swelled, she lost consciousness, stopped breathing, went into cardiac arrest and died. Coroner stated she died of heart disease that sent her into cardiac arrest; senseless. This was January 1, 2018.

Comment from: GS, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 05

With anaphylaxis my palms get read and itchy. Hives develop over my back, underarms, sides of stomach, face, and all over the scalp. Eyes, cheeks and lips swell up badly. My chest tightens and breathing gets very wheezy.

Comment from: ed11, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 03

Excellent health, never any allergies, no medications, and healthy diet. While snacking on salmon sashimi and raspberries, and with natural herb incense stick burning, felt dizzy, nausea, chest congestion, cold sweat pouring, tetany in hands and feet, muscle cramps all over the body, and shaking. I threw away incense, but things become only worse. I had severe vomiting, fibrillation, unspeakable itch and rash on palms, hands, face, and scalp. It calmed down in 5 hours, but was feeling very weak and running 99 fever the next day.

Comment from: Wolfsong2, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 02

I was given Rocephin IV in the doctor’s office for pneumonia. Almost immediately I felt odd prickling sensations. The nurse ran to get the doctor and by the time he got there (about 1 minute) I was in severe respiratory distress with a blood pressure of 52/28. He immediately gave me 100 percent oxygen by mask, started injections of Benadryl and cortisone, along with epinephrine and an IV of Ringer’s Lactate running wide open. Nothing was improving and he called 911. My skin was beet red. I had cardiac arrest in the ambulance and spent 9 days in coronary care. I was told never to take Rocephin or penicillin again, as it is believed the two tend to cross in properties. I had contrast dye 1 month ago, and immediately went into respiratory distress, only this time the blood pressure shot to 240/120. Fortunately, this was a test in the hospital outpatient, so I was rushed to the emergency room and stayed there for 12 hours, while being given epinephrine, Benadryl and cortisol. I have since learned the reaction to Rocephin was anaphylactic shock and the reaction to contrast dye was anaphylaxis. I was told to wear a medical bracelet listing these allergies, something I do; everyone should. Your life could depend on it.

Comment from: soon to be MD, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 16

About 15 years ago I had my first experience with anaphylaxis. I had a kidney infection and was prescribed a medication that I later found out I was allergic to. I took one pill and with a few minutes of the pill being swallowed, I broke out in hives. The pill didn't even have time to get into my system. It had only been 10 minutes since I swallowed the pill. I told my husband that I was itching all over, and I picked up the phone to dial 911. I got the operator on the phone and started to tell her what was happening when I started to slur my words. My husband had to take the phone from me. My airway was beginning to close. They immediately sent an ambulance. When the paramedics arrived they started an IV and gave me some fluids and epinephrine. At that point I passed out. The next thing I remember anything I was in the hospital emergency room and they were working on me with the crash cart next to the bed. The blood pressure reading at that point was 60/40. I have no idea what it was when I was passed out or what happened while I was out. I just know that the first thing the doctor said to me when I woke up was: "Ma’am if you ever come in contact with this medicine or any other quinolone again you will die. You are lucky to make it back this time."

QUESTION

Allergies can best be described as: See Answer
Comment from: Stephanie, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 19

Maria!! Please go and get a scratch test at least to start, and I would hope you are seeing an allergist....this is very serious..it only takes minutes to die from anaphlaxis....and once your airway closes...well....please all of you it is better to be safe..if you have had this reaction in your medical history go straight to the ER if you are itchy, short of breath etc. if you have just eaten something, drank something, taken a medication, gotten stung by an insect, been exposed to latex or have just exercised and experience any of those same symptoms again please go to the ER immediatly!!!!!

Comment from: Marla, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

I'm 52 and I just had my first Anaphylactic Reaction. My husband and I went out to IHOP for breakfast and the food was great! Afterwards we went to run some errands and by the time we got to our second stop and in the store I asked my husband for the keys to the car, I thought I was going to pass out. He wanted to take me to urgent care but I thought I needed to lie down and rest for a bit. By the time we got home I was having trouble breathing and I broke out with a rash all over my body and itched terrible. My chest was so tight that it hurt and my words would not come out right for me. They were all mixed up and out of order. That's when he called 911 and my vitals were very low by the time they got me to the hospital. I now have to carry an Epi Pen with me at all times in case it happens again. The scary part is that I have no idea what food I am allergic to. This just happened on October 10, 2009.

Comment from: Terry, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 21

I'm 59 yrs. old and two years ago I started having reactions when I would eat red peppers or jalapeno peppers. My tounge will swell up to an alarming size, so I could hardly breath. I would wake up in the middle of the night and would have to go directly to the emergency room. They would put an IV in me and wait for the swelling to go down. Then I'd go home and try not to eat whatever it was I ate again. I'm really scared that I won't make it one of these times.

Comment from: Jesseee, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 11

My aunt is a 60 year old woman who is tough as nails and hasn’t been allergic to things pretty much her whole life, until recently she started having allergic reactions of the face, swelling mainly and it’s out of nowhere. She’s one to stay at home most of the time and has lived in the same place for over 20 years. The doctors can’t give her an appointment for 3 weeks but we don’t have that time! I am worried about anaphylaxis.

Comment from: sunnibuni1966, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 15

My first Anaphylaxis reaction was 19 years ago during the delivery of my daughter. I had received an epidural, within minutes, I began experiencing trouble breathing and my blood pressure started to drop. When my blood pressure dropped to 60/40 I could no longer see but could hear. I awoke 3 hours later with my IV in the other arm, (my IV tube had collapsed) and was still in labor. My reaction was attributed to the pregnancy and no warnings were given. 3 years later when I was delivering my son by c-section I was give a spinal block with the same reaction. Still all was contributed to being pregnant and was not given any warnings. A few years ago I had carpal tunnel surgery and was administered a beer block on my arm. Within 5 minutes, I was having convulsions, had no detectable pulse. I was out for 8 hours. Finally I was told never to have a block anesthetic administered again. I am still not sure exactly what causes the reaction. I do fine with general anesthetic and local as long as it is not administered through IV. I have to argue with anesthesiologists every time I have a minor surgery or medical procedure performed.

Comment from: nyahsnanny, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 26

I have asthma and have allergies, but with antihistamines I have always been fine, just before Christmas I had eaten a banana sandwich, and within minutes I had a feeling of pain in my lower bowel and as I rushed up the stairs for the little office, I all of a sudden got this feeling in my feet like I was being electrocuted and it was like an itch then it shot up my body and I was so itchy. I grabbed my phone called my friend and told her she said get an antihistamine quick I am on my way. I had to go to the little office and then I collapsed on the floor lucky I had taken the antihistamine first, then I came round called 911 and told them what was happening, the paramedics turned up and so did my friend. My blood pressure was very low, my friend stayed with me after the paramedics went. I would not go to the hospital. Anyhow I went to my g.p who has made me an appointment to find out what caused the bad reaction, and I carry an epi pen everywhere I go just in case. If you have a strange feeling like this do not ignore it. Call the emergency agents asap. It is a life threatening thing and very very scary.

Comment from: 4kidsmom, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 31

I currently have 2 guinea pigs, and for the last 3 years have had at least 1 in the home. I have always fed them timothy hay. About 3 months ago the hay began to irritate my hands, causing intense itching for at least a few hours- even after thorough washing. So I have my kids feed them the hay. Last night, 1 pig was squeaking for hay and I thought I would try to fold the plastic bag containing hay back and carefully take it out only touching the hay with my finger tips, as it is the backside of hands and fingers that will itch. It took about 3 minutes to feed the pig, all the while my face was pretty close to the hay. Upon finishing my nose began to run a LOT. I rushed upstairs to get tissue, and at the top of the stairs tried to scold my daughter for not feeding the pigs the hay. But my voice was suddenly GONE, and all that came out was squeaking. (lol- like the pigs)It really startled both my daughter and I, as I realized my throat was tightening. I could whisper and explained to her what just happened, and I thought I should take Benadryl right away- but could not find any. I ran downstairs and asked my son to go to the pharmacy down the street NOW to get Benadryl. I went back upstairs and used a nasal saline rinse in my nose hoping that would help. Son came back in 10 minutes with the Benadryl, while my daughter held the phone asking if she should call for help. She was very concerned. I hesitated having her call for help because I felt like my chest (lower respiratory) was not tightening, and I thought I was breathing ok, just only my throat getting tight. My son came back with gel caps- could not find liquid. I bit into 2 caps, and within 5 minutes my throat was relaxing and my voice began to come back. I now know I should have gone immediately to the ER, that my chest not feeling tight did not mean I was ok. I was fortunate that my throat did not get any tighter and cut my air off. Today I saw my doc and now have 2 epi-pens and am trying to learn all I can about anaphylaxis. I want to pursue allergy testing, as I notice that recently certain foods will cause immediate nasal congestion. Also, I have eaten a lot of chocolate these last 2 weeks, (yes lots of nasal congestion) and have not received enough sleep during holiday preparation and follow-up. I wonder how these things play into the incident last night. It really frightened me. I want to be sure I am prepared and react properly if this happens again. I now also know that if I ever have to use an epi-pen, I need to go straight to the ER because of possible side effects of the epi, or re occurrence within hours of the episode.

Comment from: Kameron, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 04

I am 49 and just recently had a anaphylactic reaction. I suffer from hay fever, so at first I didn't give it much thought. My eyes swelled up to the point it looked like someone beat me up. Then I started coughing followed by the most unbearable itchy hives. That's when I knew it was bad. I did not have trouble breathing (just mild wheezing) nor did I feel faint, so I just started taking Benadryl, which controls the hives. I have no earthly idea what caused it, which makes me very anxious. I'm just going to tell my M.D. what happened, and get an Epi-pen from him. It's just so baffling because It happened at home, just out of the blue!

Comment from: jill, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 28

I was at my aunt's bedside as she was dying. It was 1:30 AM and I took an Aleve because my back hurt after sitting in the bedside chair. I had taken Aleve one time previous but had such a stomach upset from it I decided to never take it again. However, it was the only medicine I had in my purse so I took two. Within 10 minutes my lips, toungue, palms of my hands and soles of my feet began to tingle and prick. I then had stomach cramps and I had a large loose stool. I could not hear and I thought I was going to pass out. I made it to the nurse's station and told them I needed help. My blood pressure was 40/30. My skin turned bright pink and I was drenched with sweat. I was in the ER for over 12 hours. It took until 9 AM to get my blood pressure up to 80/40. I have an epinephrine pen now and am on prednisone for the rest of the week. I am an RN and did not know that stomach "dumping" was a symptom until it happened to me.

Comment from: auntkel, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 01

From the late '80's to around 2002, I suffered from anaphylactic reactions on a regular basis. The reactions always started in the same manner, small swelling underneath my left eye which got worse as the allergy reaction went longer. I would start off with Benadryl (liquid) because it got into my system quicker and then I would eventually move to taking an Epi-Pen self-injection shot to release the swelling in my throat. I was under an allergist's care during this entire time and also took regular doses of medications he would recommend. I went nearly 4 years and have started back again most recently with such reactions but currently am not having to take the Epi-Pen. I am able to catch the reaction early enough that Benadryl is controlling it...even though my eye(s) will swell. Sometimes I look as though I have been in a long, hard sleep for days or sometimes as though I have been suckered punch! Please do not delay getting medical treatment for these reactions. I have been in a vehicle before and have to give myself the Epi-Pen because the reaction was so bad. Sometimes I would have 2-3 reactions a day in the spring and fall when the air condition or heating were first turned on and they would go for weeks at a time. The worst part about these reactions is the immediate fear and anxiety, which aggravate the reaction, causing it to become even worse.

Comment from: Jeff Osborne, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 01

My name is Jeff, and I'm 54 years old. When I take a couple drinks of beer, my face turns blood red and feels like it is on fire with thousands of needles sticking in it. I would like to know why.

Comment from: Lyn, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 21

I had 5 shocks over a period of 12 days recently. They are now getting very scary. I have multi-chemical sensitivity and also several food allergies. I can no longer go out for meals or eat take-outs as it is too risky.

Comment from: T, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I've had four major incidents of anaphylaxis, all of them very scary. During one incident, I was already preparing myself to die when the doctor finally decided to give me the adrenalin shot I had asked for from the time I ran into the emergency room. I've been told by a friend who is a doctor that there was no way they would have taken me seriously, as I ran in by myself and could still speak, although I was saying I couldn’t breathe. My friend told me I should have been conserving the little air I could get in instead of shouting like I was doing, but I wanted to get someone's attention to my plight as soon as possible before I was unable to speak at all. Doctors don’t listen very well. I now carry Epipen and wear a Medic Alert bracelet.

Comment from: Grandma, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I was in the hospital for double pneumonia. After I had been there about 2 hours, my blood sugar was taken. It was 156, somebody panicked I think, I was given 3 units of insulin and in about 10 minutes I was in the throws of being in shock. Several nurses about 7 surrounded me and tried to get my breathing under control. I was also given Benadryl. They said later that I was on 100% oxygen. I was then taken to ICU and spent 3 days there. I was then transferred to a nursing floor. They then discovered that I had an ecoli blood infection along with the pneumonia. After a weeks stay and many test later I was discharged.

Comment from: Julia, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 29

I woke up in the middle of the night in a pretty serious anaphylactic episode. I had not had anything to eat or drink in hours. I wonder if my body could be producing an allergen.

Comment from: NoEggsPlease, 0-2 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 02

Shortly after my twin boys' 1st birthday, I decided to introduce eggs and scrambled some up for breakfast. Everything seemed fine at first, but then one of them stopped eating and started getting fussy. He was rubbing his eyes and they looked a little swollen. Within two or three minutes he started getting hives on his face, neck, and chest. His eyes were almost swollen shut and he started vomiting. I didn't know what was happening. His twin was fine. I tried calling his doctor and wasted precious time because I didn't know the signs of anaphylaxis. I wound up driving him to the ER where he received multiple doses of Benadryl, epinephrine, cortisone and another anti-inflammatory medication. I'm happy to say that we just celebrated his 2nd birthday!

Comment from: GonBalistik, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 18

A few days ago I thought I had a bladder infection and went through the usual "drink a lot of cranberry juice and plenty of water", which I did and I felt a little better till yesterday afternoon. I took an Amoxicillin capsule that was prescribed to me 4 years ago. Within 5 minutes the palms of both hands were itching like crazy, the itch moved to both my arms. Then my chest started hurting quite badly, I told my husband what was going on that I wanted to go to Urgent Care, and we left the driveway 2-3 minutes later. By the time we had gone less than 3 miles I was having a lot of trouble breathing and my pain in my chest had increased significantly. I looked in the mirror and noticed that my throat and chest had turned red. This is also when I told my husband that everything I was looking at was bright white, there were NO colors. Then I passed out the first time. We were at the hospital in 8 minutes. I took one step inside the hospital ER entrance and passed out again. Within half an hour I was brought back to consciousness, and kept in the hospital overnight for observation. I spoke with the Dr. earlier today and she didn't think it was caused by an old antibiotic subscription, but she couldn't tell me what did cause it, no mention of further tests or Epi-pens, or anything else. She did tell me to never take any more penicillin medications just in case. I will most likely call my PCP and get him to set me up with the allergy tests and so on. Thank you to all the others that have written your stories here, I wasn't sure what to do next, thanks to you, now I do.

Comment from: Sharon, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

I had an allergic reaction to some medication 1hr after taking it, my eyelids started swelling; my hands started to itch and I got welts on my stomach. In no time my eyelids were nearly shut they were so swollen my lips were huge; my fingers were blue and I had heart palpitations. My airways were ok as I was able to speak and my breathing was ok but I was somewhat stressed by now and was on oxygen. I was at casualty for 3hours until I stabilized.

Comment from: dodah, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 19

Daughter had third anaphylactic reaction on 1/13 to a food. We thought the other two were from seafood but this one came after eating a salad with pine nuts in it. After eating only a few bites of the salad, she began to experience itching, especially in the palms of her hands. Then came the throat itching and general feelings of "uh-oh! Is this really happening?" Finally, when my daughter started passing out they put her into a w/c and took her to a cubicle where the ER doctors finally went to work and gave the epinephrine she needed. She was only seconds away from total respiratory and cardiac arrest! And all because her not keeping her Epipen with her at ALL times and because of so-called Hospital Protocol and a stupid, inept, uncaring nurse. The lesson: 1. Keep your Epipen within reach at all times and in date! 2. Fight the hospital staff if needed to get the help you need...you're dying!

Comment from: Mother wasnt warned!, 7-12 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 11

My 8 yr old son was allergic to peanuts, which we were always aware of. He had 3 allergy reactions before and the doctors never gave us any information on it at all, not even when he was casually admitted to the hospital only 9 months prior. Recently, my son became blue, struggled to breathe and had a heart attack! After taking him to the ER the doctors thankfully got his heart going after over 5 minutes of no heart beat. The outcome was 3 days later we were told Andrew was brain dead and would never wake up from his coma. So with the help of God we knew without a doubt we had to set his soul free to be in heaven so he could live again. It was too late for me as a mother to be warned about the severity and DEADLY outcome from anaphylactic shock.

Comment from: Clayton, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 07

I was having a coffee on my way to do some work on the weekend. I hadn't eaten anything yet that day and as I finished my coffee, the thought entered my head that I was having an allergic reaction. At this point, I put down my newspaper and realized that I was hot and tingling in my extremities (head, arms, legs). I put down my coffee and went into the bathroom to look in the mirror. Much to my shock, my entire face was swollen and bright red. My lips were especially swollen and I could feel my tongue starting to swell. I decided to go to work anyway, but fortunately, I had to pass the hospital about 5 minutes away. I was feeling much worse at this point and went into emergency. As soon as the Triage nurse saw me, I was marched into acute care and given an injection of epinephrine and some other drugs. I have had two bouts of cancer in my life, and have had minor incidents of hives that went away quickly, but this is a major escalation. I have no idea what I have developed a sensitivity to, but it is very serious. Do not make the mistake I made and please go to the hospital the minute something like this starts; I could have experienced serious consequences if I had followed my first instinct and gone to work.

Comment from: tixrus, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 30

Melbourne, Australia: At the end of a 10K run, I was attacked by a swarm of bees. The individual stings did not hurt too much, but after the attack, I walked about 200 meters, then I collapsed. I was nauseated and dizzy, and I also had low blood pressure. The ambulance was called, and I spent the night in the hospital. After the fact, we counted 45 stings, some of which developed into huge welts! Now I’ve got an Epipen because a single sting might trigger anaphylaxis in the future. This was not a fun Saturday.

Comment from: Candles, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 19

I am 57 and have never been allergic to anything in my life. I have asthma and take Advair twice a day. Other than that, I am in perfect health. Last September my husband fixed me breakfast in bed, eggs, toast and hot tea. About an hour after I finished eating I became nauseated and got this strange tingling feeling and felt a bit warm. I asked my husband if I had a fever and he said no. I started feeling really, really hot, started coughing and was having a bit of a problem breathing so I called my husband back into the bedroom and to ask him again if I had a fever. As soon as he walked back into the room he noticed that I had turned blood red and my eyes were starting to swell and have bumps on and under them. By the time I got to the closest place, an ER clinic, I was blood red, looked like 2nd degree burns, my eyes were swollen shut and my throat was almost closed down. They took me back ASAP, gave me a shot of steroids, Benadryl by mouth and many breathing treatments. They transferred me to the hospital ER where I was watched for several hours because they were afraid of another occurrence. I went home and was fine.

Comment from: Linda Bird, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 12

Over the past 2 months I have had anaphylactic shock from taking penicillin. Very scary. Within 20 minutes of taking the drug, I would begin itching everywhere, then my breathing would become erratic. Within 5 minutes of the reaction, my blood pressure would drop and I would barely be able to keep my head up. Very scary! The first time I waited it out, but after my research, I will never do that again. If it ever happens to you a first time, call 911 and get to the ER. Obviously, the professionals can tell you what means to follow in the future. Don't play with fate!

Comment from: Patty, 55-64 Female Published: September 21

My left hand begins to swell, then my top lip on one side begins to swell. It moves to the other side of my lip. This has happen twice in a month. My left ear was swollen this time too. I haven't done anything different. I haven't eaten anything different.

Comment from: gemma, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 08

Since having my 2nd child in September 09 I have devolved several allergies to many different things, it all started when she was 2 weeks old I ate a new recipe of which in 10mins I had a severe reaction, it started with sneezing, then itching. I rang the pharmacist and they said if lips swell ring the an ambulance, 2 minutes after putting the phone down I was blue, my husband rushed me to the hospital and I can’t really remember the rest although I was pumped with adrenalin and steroids. I have since had allergy testing, and have recently had another bad reaction again being admitted to hospital. My only advice is watch what u eat, always carry medication and an epi pen and don’t panic.

Comment from: Lady M, 45-54 Female Published: February 02

Over the past couple of years, once in a while I will wake with a scratchy throat. Next thing I know my sinus is completely blocked and my eyes are red and puffy. Sometimes I will have diarrhea with these symptoms. This only happens at night when I am asleep. I have no idea what could be causing this.

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