Anaphylaxis (pronounced anna-fill-axis) is a life-threatening allergic reaction triggered by some serious food allergies, like eggs or peanuts. Many Canadian adults and children are at risk of this reaction.

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can start within minutes of coming into contact with an allergen, and can include any of the following:

  • skin: itching, redness, swelling, hives, rash
  • airway: trouble breathing, swallowing, speaking, coughing, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms
  • stomach: nausea, pain, vomiting, diarrhea
  • heart: weak pulse, pale/blue colour, weak, lightheaded, fainting, shock
  • other: anxiety, sense of doom, loss of consciousness

If you are concerned that you or your child may have a severe food allergy, talk to your doctor for more information.

What to do in the case of severe food reaction

Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of an allergic reaction. It can happen quickly, affect different parts of the body, and can be life-threatening. This fact sheet will help you recognize the signs and learn what to do in case of an anaphylactic reaction.

Download a fact sheet on what to do in the case of severe food reactions.