Anaphylaxis meaning

Anaphylactic shock is a severe allergic reaction to venom, food, or medication and the symptoms it causes is called anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock is a severe, immediate, allergic reaction, which can affect many organ systems. Anaphylactic shock is serious and potentially life threatening.

When exposed to something the body is allergic to, the immune system releases chemicals that flood the body. Blood pressure drops suddenly and airways narrow, possibly blocking normal breathing and the body’s cells and organs don’t get enough oxygen. 

Anaphylactic shock in babies

When anaphylactic shock is most severe, a baby may experience this airway narrowing and swelling, and a drop in blood pressure making it difficult to breathe. Anaphylactic shock happens most often in children and although it is not common, it is not rare in babies.

Anaphylaxis symptoms

Anaphylaxis includes a wide range of symptoms that can start quickly, within minutes, or several hours after exposure to an allergy trigger. The main symptoms to look out for are:

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing or tightness in chest
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Skin changes like rash, redness or hives
  • Pale skin or turning a bluish colour
  • Swelling of the lips or tongue
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Tight throat, difficulty swallowing, and hoarseness
  • Weak pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion, drowsiness or agitation
  • Irritability, fussiness, or inconsolable crying 
  • Sudden drooling 
  • Unusual sleepiness

If you suspect your baby has had an anaphylactic shock, you should contact the emergency services and take your baby to the hospital immediately.

Anaphylaxis treatment

The first step for treating anaphylactic shock will likely be injecting epinephrine immediately. This is a form of adrenaline and can reduce the severity of the allergic reaction. Often, epinephrine autoinjectors are prescribed to those who have had an anaphylactic reaction and for infants and children that are at high risk for anaphylaxis.

Can Cows’ Milk Allergy cause anaphylactic reaction

An allergic reaction to food, e.g. Cows’ Milk Allergy (CMA) is one of the most common triggers of anaphylactic shock in babies. Other triggers include insect stings, medications and latex. Symptoms can occur very suddenly and get worse very quickly.


SmilesBack App

Cows’ milk allergy (CMA) is a common food allergy in baby’s and young children but it is often challenging to diagnose and may take many months and doctors appointments. If you suspect that your baby might have cows’ milk allergy, you can use SmilesBack to help shorten the journey to diagnosis and help put smiles back where they belong.

SmilesBack is an easy-to-use app that has been developed with allergy experts and tested by parents. It enables you to easily record your baby’s symptoms and feeds and summarise them in a one-page, expert-designed report, to support your doctor before they make a diagnosis.



IMPORTANT NOTICE: Breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for babies and provides many benefits to babies and mothers. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breastmilk, and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. Always consult your healthcare professional for advice about feeding your baby. The social and financial implications of using infant formula should be considered. Improper use of an infant formula or inappropriate foods or feeding methods may present a health hazard. If you use infant formula, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully – failure to follow the instructions may make your baby ill. Formula for special medical purposes intended for infants must be used under medical supervision.