Allergic Reactions: When to Get Emergency Treatment

Allergic reactions (Anaphylaxis) can pose serious, life-threatening consequences if not taken care of immediately. Recognizing the signs of Anaphylaxis and heading to your local emergency room (ER) can save a life. From bee stings or consuming certain foods, every second counts if you are experiencing a severe allergic reaction.

Sadly, most anaphylaxis deaths are related to delays in seeking urgent medical care. If you suffer from food or medicinal allergies, it is imperative to keep this information on hand whenever you step out of the house. It would be best to have an emergency action plan in place; this could mean the difference between life and death. Also, understanding the symptoms of your allergies and relaying this information to loved ones is crucial.

Identifying the symptoms of Anaphylaxis

Understanding the signs of Anaphylaxis can be a life-saver. However, reaction symptoms vary from person to person. Symptoms may develop rapidly, usually within seconds of exposure to allergens – or they can evolve within an hour or so. Either way, it is best to look for the following signs before seeking emergency care:

  • Difficulty breathing, uncontrollable coughing, wheezing, itchy throat, dry mouth and problems swallowing. 
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, pain, and diarrhea.
  • Rash, hives, itchiness, and skin redness.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, imbalance, chest discomfort/tightness, and lack of mental clarity.
  • Weakness, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, rapid pulse, and fainting.

Allergic reactions become more serious when symptoms are severe. For example, if a person is experiencing breathing problems, excessive vomiting, or has lost consciousness, they must be taken to an emergency room right away. Emergency treatment can save their life.

Treating Anaphylaxis

If Anaphylaxis is detected, call 9-11 and administer epinephrine if available. If not, try to keep the individual as calm as possible and follow all the dispatcher’s instructions. Keep all emergency medications on hand if the person has been diagnosed with a severe allergic reaction.

People with severe allergic reactions may have to take a dose of epinephrine before severe symptoms develop. This, of course, will be determined by their doctor based on the allergies and severities involved. For example, a person with a peanut allergy may need to take epinephrine if they consume peanuts by accident. However, the individual should contact their physician if only mild symptoms are present.

For more severe reactions that warrant emergency medical care, here are some tips on what to do when waiting for emergency medical attention:

  • Avoid giving the person any oral allergy medicines or liquids if they have trouble breathing.
  • Do not place a pillow under the individual’s head if they have difficulty breathing.
  • The person should lie flat with their feet elevated about 12 inches and be covered with a jacket or blanket. This can prevent shock and help the individual remain calm. However, if they are experiencing discomfort in this position, they should stay still before help arrives.
  • If the allergic reaction is from a bee sting, try scraping the stinger off with a credit card or fingernail. Avoid using tweezers since they can release more venom into the sting site.
  • Positive reinforcements go a long way in helping folks with allergic reactions. Let them know help is on the way, and they will be fine soon.

Family First ER provides the same emergency services as hospital-based emergency rooms. In addition, our expert physicians and nurses offer professional medical care for patients experiencing severe allergic reactions.

Treating allergic reactions at the emergency room

A person with a severe allergic reaction may feel better with a dose of epinephrine. However, they must go to an emergency room to receive prompt medical care. This can prevent symptoms from returning and avoid further medical issues.

Unfortunately, severe allergic reactions can see stronger symptoms return hours after initial epinephrine injections. This is called biphasic Anaphylaxis, and the only way to prevent this is by going to the ER and staying there for at least four hours. This enables the medical personnel to monitor you and administer additional medications if needed.

Family First ER for all your allergy-related emergencies

Family First ER is a patient-centered emergency center dedicated to treating severe allergic reactions. With a Board-Certified physician onsite 24/7, we ensure timely medical care and assistance for patients of all ages. Our venue offers the latest in medical diagnostics, care, and services that you will find at hospital-based emergency rooms.

To learn more, contact us today and get the medical help you deserve.