Anaphylaxis, killer allergy: long-term management in the community

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Feb;117(2):367-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2005.12.002.


Traditionally, physicians are trained to diagnose and treat anaphylaxis as an acute emergency in a health care setting. In addition to this crucial and time-honored role, we should be cognizant of our wider responsibility to (1) provide a risk assessment for individuals with anaphylaxis, (2) prevent future anaphylaxis episodes by developing long-term personalized risk reduction strategies for affected individuals, and (3) emphasize anaphylaxis education. Risk assessment should include verification of the trigger factor or factors for the anaphylaxis episode by obtaining a comprehensive history and performing relevant investigations, including allergen skin tests and measurement of allergen-specific IgE in serum. In addition, the potential effect of comorbidities and concurrently administered medications on the recognition and emergency treatment of subsequent episodes should be determined. Risk reduction strategies should be personalized to include information about avoidance of specific triggers and initiation of relevant specific preventive treatment (eg, venom immunotherapy). At-risk individuals should be coached in the use of self-injectable epinephrine and equipped with an anaphylaxis emergency action plan and with accurate medical identification. Anaphylaxis education should be provided for these individuals, their families and caregivers, health care professionals, and the general public. Further development of an optimal diagnostic test for anaphylaxis and of tests and algorithms to predict future risk and prevent fatality are urgently needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis* / diagnosis
  • Anaphylaxis* / etiology
  • Anaphylaxis* / prevention & control
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Self Administration


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Epinephrine