Understanding Anaphylaxis -- Prevention

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on January 16, 2020

How Can I Prevent Anaphylaxis?

If you’re allergic to insect stings or any of the foods that are common causes of anaphylaxis, or if you’ve ever had an anaphylactic reaction:

  • Ask your doctor how to avoid your allergens and what to do if you have an allergic reaction, especially a severe reaction.
  • Tell your healthcare providers, including your dentist, about your allergies before you take any new medication, especially injections.
  • Stay in your doctor's office the full amount of time they recommend after you get any injection. If you don’t feel right, tell a nurse or doctor ASAP.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant that lets others know about your allergies.
  • If you're allergic to insect stings, wear protective clothing when you go outside. Avoid shiny fabrics or jewelry, which can attract insects. Put a lid over sugary drinks.
  • If you're allergic to any food, don’t be afraid to be a little pushy. If you need getting detailed information about ingredients from manufacturers, restaurant staff, or dinner hosts, ask until you get it.
  • Keep two epinephrine injection kits with you at all times. Make sure they’re easy to get to. Teach your family, friends, and colleagues how to give you a shot if you have a reaction.
  • If your child is allergic, show their teachers, friends' parents, and any other caregivers how to use the kit in an emergency. Make sure the kit is always with them and they can get to it when they need it.
  • Know the symptoms of a severe reaction. Reach for the epinephrine if you think you’re beginning to have one. Don’t wait to use your auto-injector. It won’t hurt you to take the shot just to be safe.
  • Check the date on your kit. Epinephrine typically has a 1-year shelf life.
  • Ask an allergy doctor about a treatment called desensitization. They’ll give you little bits of the allergen until your reaction to them eases up. It can work for insect stings and drugs like penicillin.

Call your doctor or 911 immediately if you have any symptoms of anaphylaxis. This is an emergency.

WebMD Medical Reference



Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters: "The diagnosis and management of anaphylaxis practice parameter: 2010 Update."

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: "Anaphylaxis."

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: "Anaphylaxis."

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