The probability of anaphylaxis cannot be determined by testing, though tests can reveal potential allergens and may indicate their severity. Doctors recommend that those who may be susceptible carry medication (most commonly injectable epinephrine) with them at all times and to always be sure that it has not expired. Doctors can provide directions for the self-administration of epinephrine, which can mean the difference between life and death.
Injectable epinephrine is a man-made version of the hormone adrenaline. To treat anaphylactic shock, it is directly injected into the thigh. By working on the heart and lungs, it causes the rapid constriction of blood vessels, stops the swelling of the throat, relaxes the muscles in the lungs, and stimulates the heartbeat. It is designed for emergency use, coming in two forms. The first is the traditional needle and syringe kit, known as the Ana-kit. The second is a system of automatic injection, called the Epi-Pen. The Epi-pen delivers a single dosage while the Ana-kit provides two. The choice of which system to use is determined by doctor and patient.