This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

The anaphylactic reaction

Written by: | Published:

Nuts are the most common cause of anaphylaxis Nuts are the most common cause of food-related anaphylactic reactions

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening hypersensivity reaction.1 The hypersensitivity reaction may be generalised or systemic and tends to occur within minutes.

Anaphylaxis can be an allergic reaction that is immunologically mediated, or a non-immunologically mediated response, or idiopathic.2 Allergic anaphylaxis in relation to food triggers, wasp or bee stings (venom) and latex is immunologically mediated, but anaphylaxis caused by medications is not.1 Most anaphylactic reactions are idiopathic: a trigger is not identifiable from the history.

Anaphylaxis presents with airway compromise as a result of pharyngeal and/or laryngeal oedema and breathing difficulty. The latter is caused by an increased respiratory rate and/or bronchospasm.

There may be evidence of circulatory compromise, such as hypotension and an increased heart rate. Skin and mucosal changes are present in most cases; possible skin changes include flushing and urticaria. Symptoms can deteriorate rapidly.

Incidence and causes

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.