According to research, food-based allergies are the most common cause of anaphylaxis. This includes peanuts, fish and shellfish, tree nuts, and cow’s milk. However, sensitivity to any substance could trigger an anaphylactic response. Other common triggers include medications such as penicillin and insect stings.
If you do not know what triggered your anaphylaxis you will likely be referred to a healthcare provider who specializes in allergies and immunology. This healthcare provider can use skin scratch tests or blood testing to determine substances you are sensitive to. If you take antihistamine medications they will need to be stopped for a period of time before these tests are performed.
If allergy testing comes back negative you may have experienced what medical professionals call idiopathic anaphylaxis.5 In this case, your healthcare provider may choose to perform more testing and should discuss ways of preventing future episodes with you.
There is also a poorly understood condition called exercise-induced anaphylaxis. However, this condition often involves a co-trigger so allergy testing is an important part of diagnosing and managing this type of anaphylaxis.