Know the Difference: Anaphylaxis vs. Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially fatal allergic reaction. Food allergy is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, although several other allergens – insect stings, medications, or latex – are other potential triggers.

“Anaphylactic shock” is a term that specifically refers to an episode of anaphylaxis where the person goes into a state of shock due to poor blood circulation that deprives the body of oxygen and nutrients.

Shock does not happen with most cases of anaphylaxis, so it is important to be aware of all of the potential symptoms of anaphylaxis. FARE's Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan outlines recommended treatment in case of an allergic reaction.

Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, and should be administered promptly during an anaphylactic reaction, whether or not shock is present.

Additional anaphylaxis resources: