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If you have a food allergy, there is a chance that you may experience a severe form of allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis may begin suddenly and may lead to death if not immediately treated.
Anaphylaxis includes a wide range of symptoms that can occur in many combinations. Some symptoms are not life-threatening, but the most severe restrict breathing and blood circulation.
Many different parts of your body can be affected:
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Symptoms may begin within several minutes to several hours after exposure to the food. Sometimes the symptoms go away, only to return two to four hours later or even as many as eight hours later. When you begin to experience symptoms, seek immediate medical attention because anaphylaxis can be life-threatening.
Anaphylaxis caused by an allergic reaction to a certain food is highly unpredictable. The severity of a given attack does not predict the severity of subsequent attacks. The response will vary depending on several factors, such as the following:
Any anaphylactic reaction may become dangerous and must be evaluated immediately by a healthcare professional.
Food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis; however, medications, insect stings, and latex can also cause an allergic reaction that leads to anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is highly likely if at least one of the following three conditions occurs:
Last Updated December 06, 2010
Last Reviewed November 02, 2010