Reviewed by Hansa Bhargava on December 14, 2015

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Thomas Chacko, MD Allergist

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Video Transcript

THOMAS CHACKO: So for life threatening anaphylaxis, probably the top three triggers are food allergies, insect stings, and medications.

And it depends, like, a drug reaction, and it primarily depends on the age group. Like, with younger ones it's more likely to be food allergies, and in older patients it's probably more likely to be a drug allergy or insect allergy. But those are the biggest triggers around.

There are some uncommon ones that you can have. Latex allergy. Some people even have anaphylaxis to red meat, secondary to a tick bite.

Again, these are somewhat more uncommon or off the beaten track. And some people even have an idiopathic anaphylaxis, where they have anaphylaxis, and we don't know the specific trigger.

Some people have exercise induced anaphylaxis, where they're totally fine, and only when they exercise do they have signs and symptoms of the anaphylaxis. So anaphylaxis can be a broad range of triggers.

If you have an anaphylaxary reaction you should see an allergist, so they could do some testing or better history, just to figure out what might have caused that.

There's testing to look for different foods, for insects, as well, a lot of times, in the history. It'll help you to decide what the trigger was.

And then there's a good percentage of patients that go to the ER, have an anaphylatic reaction, and a specific trigger is not found. That's actually not uncommon.