Anaphylaxis Awareness Day is 5/13: Facts and Resources to Help You Educate Others

During Food Allergy Awareness Week, FARE recognizes the critical need to raise awareness and educate the public about the most severe type of allergic reaction: anaphylaxis (an-uh-fil-LAX-is). That is why we started Anaphylaxis Awareness Day, held this year on Wednesday, May 13. Below you will find facts and resources about anaphylaxis and advice for managing anaphylactic reactions.


10 Facts About Anaphylaxis

  1. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. Anaphylaxis should always be handled as a medical emergency.
  2. During anaphylaxis, allergic symptoms can affect several areas of the body and may threaten breathing and blood circulation.
  3. Food allergy is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, although several other allergens– insect stings, medications, or latex – are other potential triggers.
  4. Although anyone who has a food allergy can experience anaphylaxis, the foods most likely to cause a severe reaction are peanutstree nutsfish and shellfish.
  5. People who have both asthma and a food allergy are at greater risk for anaphylaxis.
  6. Epinephrine (adrenaline) is a medication that can reverse the severe symptoms of anaphylaxis. It is available by prescription via an epinephrine auto-injector. If an anaphylactic reaction is occurring, give epinephrine immediately and call 911.
  7. Use of antihistamines is the most common reason reported for not using epinephrine and may place an individual at significantly increased risk for progression toward a life-threatening reaction.
  8. Epinephrine is considered a very safe medicine. There are currently three types of epinephrine auto-injectors available in the U.S.
  9. You can still have a life-threatening reaction to your problem food, even if you have never had a serious reaction before. Past reactions do not predict future reactions!
  10. Those at highest risk for food-induced fatal reactions are adolescents/young adults, individuals with asthma and individuals with known food allergies and a prior history of anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis Resources

Recent Studies on Anaphylaxis

If you are at risk for anaphylaxis, be sure to:

Learn all you can about avoiding allergens. Read food labels carefully and don’t hesitate to ask questions when eating away from home. Vigilance is your first line of defense against anaphylaxis.

  • Have your medication with you wherever you go.
  • Talk to your allergist about when and how to use emergency medications.
  • Make sure prescriptions are up-to-date.
  • Wear medical identification (e.g., bracelets, other jewelry, wallet card) at all times.
  • Follow your allergist’s treatment instructions as outlined in your Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan. Don’t delay in using epinephrine! Use your emergency medications as prescribed.
  • Get to an emergency room for evaluation and further treatment right away – even if your medication has stopped the reaction.
  • Epinephrine is not a “foolproof” treatment. Don’t take chances by eating a problem food.

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