Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Understanding Anaphylaxis -- Diagnosis & Treatment

How Is Anaphylaxis Diagnosed?

Anaphylaxis is diagnosed on the basis of its signs and symptoms. A history of exposure to an allergen can also be helpful.

It is difficult to gauge an individual's potential for a severe allergic response before it occurs. However, those with a history of allergic reactions -- mild, moderate, or severe -- may be at greater risk of having a severe reaction in the future.

Understanding Anaphylaxis

Find out more about anaphylaxis:



Diagnosis and Treatment


Tests that are commonly used to assess allergic responses include skin-prick or scratch tests, intradermal skin tests and blood tests that can identify specific antibodies that indicate particular allergies. Skin-prick or scratch testing involves placing a small drop of allergen on the skin and scratching with it without breaking the skin surface. Intradermal, or percutaneous testing, involves placing small amounts of suspected allergens under the skin and watching for signs of a localized allergic reaction.

What Are the Treatments for Anaphylaxis?

Epinephrine is the most effective immediate treatment for anaphylaxis. It rapidly reverses the uncomfortable flushing and itching as well as the more serious problems with breathing and dangerous drop in blood pressure that accompanies most anaphylactic reactions. More importantly, if given in time, epinephrine can reverse the life-threatening symptoms of anaphylactic shock. If you are allergic to insect stings or any of the foods that cause anaphylaxis, or if you ever have had an anaphylactic reaction, you should contact your physician about providing an epinephrine injection kit. (Epi-Pen is one common brand name.) You should carry two kits at all times and know how to use it. If you're at risk, make sure your family members, friends, and colleagues know the signs of anaphylaxis and how to give you an injection if needed. Do not hesitate to use the epinephrine auto-injector if you start showing any symptoms of anaphylaxis. Using the auto-injector as a precaution will not harm you.

If someone appears to be suffering from anaphylaxis, call for emergency help, even if the person has already been given an epinephrine injection. The person may require additional doses or other medical interventions. Anyone who has an anaphylactic reaction should be checked by medical personnel. After getting epinephrine, steroid drugs (such as prednisone or methylprednisolone) and antihistamines (given after epinephrine) can also help to calm the reaction and prevent the return of acute symptoms.

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?

blowing nose
woman with sore throat
lone star tick
Woman blowing nose

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cat lying on shelf
Allergy prick test
Man sneezing into tissue
Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching