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Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. It may start suddenly within seconds or minutes, or take a few hours to develop the following contact with an allergen which is a substance that is capable of producing an allergic reaction.

A severe anaphylactic reaction is sometimes known as anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis can cause blood pressure to drop quickly, resulting in fainting or even sustained loss of consciousness. It can also cause severe breathing difficulties.

Common food triggers:

•  Peanuts, tree nuts
•  Fish and shellfish
•  Fruit
•  Dairy products such as milk and eggs.

Sometimes the cause may be unknown but Anaphylaxis can also be triggered by:

• Venom from stinging or biting insects. Wasp and bee venom is the most common insect allergens. On rare occasions stings from hornets and bumble bees can also cause allergic reactions.
• Medicine – most commonly antibiotics, aspirin or ibuprofen
• Latex