Anaphylaxis is a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction. If you are allergic to a substance, your immune system overreacts to this allergen by releasing chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical treatment, including a prompt injection of epinephrine and a trip to a hospital emergency room. If it isn’t treated properly, anaphylaxis can be fatal.*

Reactions to food allergies are unpredictable, but are usually mild and self-limiting. They may involve one or more organ systems, including the skin, gastrointestinal tract or the circulatory or respiratory systems. In IgE-mediated food allergies, reactions may occur within minutes or in up to two hours.


Frequently Asked Questions

What does an allergic reaction look like?

According to FAACT, symptoms of a food allergic reaction may include one or more of the following:*

  • Tingling of the mouth
  • Swelling of the tongue and throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness and loss of consciousness

Can I have an allergic reaction from smelling peanuts?

According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team, for those who are severely allergic, ingesting even a trace amount of peanuts can cause a reaction, but skin contact and smelling peanuts are unlikely to cause systemic reactions or anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis may occur due to ingestion, but research supports that people with peanut allergies are highly unlikely to have serious reactions as the result of casual contact with peanut proteins. If symptoms do occur, it generally includes sneezing, runny nose and/or coughing.*

What do I do if someone is experiencing a life-threatening reaction?

Life threatening reactions are rare, but can happen when an individual ingests the food to which they are allergic. If you suspect you or an individual is having an allergic reaction, you must act quickly. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, it is essential to administer epinephrine and call 911 for immediate medical attention.

How is an anaphylactic reaction treated?

Epinephrine is the  recommended treatment for anaphylaxis.1 Epinephrine options include:

  • EpiPen®
  • Epinephrine injection auto-injector (Adrenaclick® generic)
  • Syringe and vial of epinephrine as a method of emergency treatment.
  • Auvi-Q

Speak to your doctor about the best method for maintaining and administering epinephrine for your health or the health of your child.

The National Peanut Board does not promote or support any specific injector/brand.