There are many different triggers that can cause a severe allergic reaction:
The most common food allergens in Canada are:
The insects most likely to trigger severe allergic reactions belong to the Hymenoptera order, also known as stinging insects. Stinging insects inject venom when they sting the skin, which can cause a severe allergic reaction.
Stinging insects include:
- Yellow jackets
- Ants, including the fire ant
Biting insects (eg, mosquitoes, black flies) may also trigger severe allergic reactions.
A latex allergy is an allergic sensitivity to the proteins in natural rubber latex. Natural rubber latex comes from the milky sap of rubber trees and is used to make products such as:
Both prescription and non-prescription medication may cause an allergic reaction.
Penicillin and related antibiotics are the most common causes of a medication-related severe allergic reaction.
Other allergy-causing medication include:
- Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Sulfa antibiotics
- Insulin, especially those from animal sources
- Local anesthetics like Novocain
Some people experience a severe allergic reaction after they exercise, known as exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
Why exercise causes a reaction is unknown. However, it appears that some medications (such as aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or food consumed before and after exercise have been associated with exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
It usually starts with skin symptoms such as itchiness, redness, and hives. If left untreated, it can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms as well as swelling of the throat.
Sometimes a severe allergic reaction can occur without a known cause. This is called idiopathic anaphylaxis.
As with other types of severe allergic reactions, symptoms include hives or skin swelling, wheezing, difficulty breathing, nausea, light-headedness, and fainting. However, most people don’t experience all these symptoms at once.
You can’t always avoid your triggers, but you can be prepared by carrying EpiPen® with you at all times.
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