02/13/2013 11:39 EST | Updated 04/15/2013 05:12 EDT

What are the signs of an anaphylactic reaction? A list of key symptoms

Key signs of an anaphylactic reaction can involve any of the following symptoms. Symptoms may appear alone or in any combination, regardless of the triggering allergen:

— Skin system: hives, swelling, itching, warmth, redness, rash

— Respiratory system (breathing): coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, throat tightness, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms (runny itchy nose and watery eyes, sneezing), trouble swallowing

— Gastrointestinal system (stomach): nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhea

— Cardiovascular system (heart): pale/blue colour, weak pulse, passing out, dizzy/lightheaded, shock

— Other: anxiety, feeling of "impending doom," headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste

Because of the unpredictability of reactions, early symptoms should never be ignored, especially if the person has suffered an anaphylactic reaction in the past. It is important to note that anaphylaxis can occur without hives.

Source: via Anaphylaxis Canada