Anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, is a severe allergic reaction that affects the whole body. It can lead to death.
What is going on in the body?
Anaphylaxis is a response to a substance to which a person has become very sensitive. An antibody called IgE causes cells to release a variety of substances called mediators. These mediators are responsible for the allergic reaction. They affect blood vessels, smooth muscle, and inflammatory cells all over the body.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
Anaphylaxis is often an allergic reaction to one of the following:
aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen
contrast agents, which are injected for some special X-ray tests
foods, such as nuts, berries, eggs, beans, seafood, grains, and chocolate
hormones, including insulin, methylprednisolone, and progesterone
local anesthetics, such as lidocaine and procaine
penicillin, cephalosporins, and other antibiotics
physical stimuli, including exercise and cold air
pollen from plants
venom from a snakebite
venom from spiders, yellow jackets, hornets, or honeybees