Allergic or anaphylactic shock

Choc allergique

Allergic reactions

Signs and Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

An allergic reaction usually occurs within minutes of contact with an allergen, but can also occur several hours after exposure. A reaction can include any of the following symptoms, and a person may have one or more of these symptoms, regardless of the allergen:

  • Cutaneous system (skin): hives, swelling, itching, feeling hot, redness, rash
  • Respiratory system (breathing): coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, throat tightness, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms (runny or itchy nose, watery eyes, sneezing), difficulty swallowing
  • Gastrointestinal system (belly): nausea (feeling sick), pain or cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Cardiovascular system (heart): pale or bluish complexion, weak pulse, fainting, dizziness/vertigo, shock
  • Other: anxiety, feeling of “imminent danger”, headaches, uterine cramps, metallic taste in the mouth

The most dangerous symptoms of an allergic reaction are:

  • Difficulty breathing caused by swelling of the airways (including a severe asthma attack in people with asthma);
  • A drop in blood pressure causing dizziness, malaise, feeling weak or fainting.
  • Both of these symptoms can lead to death if left untreated.

Do not forget :

  • Do not ignore the first symptoms.
  • Always take a potential reaction seriously and act quickly.
  • Not all reactions are alike; a person's symptoms may vary from episode to episode.
  • Anaphylaxis can occur even in the absence of skin symptoms such as hives.
  • A child may describe their symptoms differently than an adult: for example, they might say, "It tickles in my throat" or "I have an itchy tongue."

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