Did you know more than twenty-six million adults have a food allergy in the United States? Even more have allergies that are related to pollen, pet hair, and insect bites.
If you or a loved one is experiencing an unexpected allergic reaction, then it can be incredibly stressful — especially if you don’t know what to do.
That’s why we organized this guide so you can determine how serious the allergic reaction is, and what necessary steps you should take. That way, you can get the help you need and avoid these types of allergens in the future. Let’s get started!
What Is An Allergic Reaction?
When a foreign substance enters the body our immune systems work to create antibodies that fight off the substance. However, sometimes the immune systems will mistake certain things for a threat even though they aren’t.
This is what’s known as an allergic reaction. A variety of things can trigger allergy symptoms in people, from food and animal hair to environments and medication. Most allergies tend to be fairly mild and inconvenient.
However, some serious ones can lead the individual into anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening condition that causes the body to go into shock.
Then, the blood pressure drops and the individual has difficulty breathing. If left untreated then the person can die from cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.
What Are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of your allergies depend on what you’re allergic to. They can attack different parts of your body like your digestive system, mouth, airways, skin, and nose. In this section, we’ll be going over some of the common symptoms associated with allergies.
Environmental Allergy Symptoms
These tend to be the least serious type of allergies. Symptoms can include things like a runny nose, sneezing, and shortness of breath.
It can also cause water, bloodshot eyes, and skin irritation (skin that’s red, peeling, or itchy).
Food Allergy Symptoms
Skin conditions are common with food allergy symptoms. Look for things like itching, peeling, red, hives, or rashes. Since the allergen was ingested it can also affect the digestive system.
So, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can also be common. The last symptom is shortness of breath or wheezing.
Insect Sting Allergy Symptoms
Insect bites come with the widest range of symptoms. Skin conditions like itching, peeling, red, hives, or rashes are not uncommon. Many people also experience face swelling, increased pulse, and dizziness.
You should also look out for breathing difficulty and wheezing.
Drug Allergy Symptoms
Like other allergens, drug symptoms typically affect the skin with itching, peeling, red, hives, or rashes. Shortness of breath, swelling of the face, and rapid pulse are also common.
If any of these allergies are serious enough, then they can cause the individual to go into anaphylaxis. This is the most dangerous type of allergy and it often occurs minutes after exposure to the allergen.
So how can you tell that anaphylaxis is occurring? Look for signs of a skin reaction like hives, itching, or pale skin. Difficulty breathing and facial swelling are also common.
Eventually, the person will get lightheaded and possibly pass out. Since it affects blood pressure it can also cause a fast or slow pulse.
What Should You Do If the Allergic Reaction Is Severe?
If someone you know is experiencing a severe allergic reaction, then the first thing you should do is call 911. Or, drive the individual to an urgent care center that doesn’t require appointments, like mednowurgentcare.net.
Next, you should see whether or not they have epinephrine or an auto-injector. If they do, then assist them in using it. Next, while waiting for the ambulance try to keep the person calm.
Have the person lie on their back and raise their feet twelve inches into the air. If you have a blanket, then wrap it around them to keep them from going into shock.
If they begin vomiting, then roll them onto their side so they don’t choke. Make sure to also loosen clothing so they can breathe better. If the ambulance hasn’t arrived yet, and the person stops breathing or moving, then someone will need to perform CPR until emergency services get there.
If you don’t know CPR, then see if anyone around you does. If no one does, then it’s better to try it than do nothing at all. All you need to do is chest compressions one hundred times per minute until the ambulance arrives.
What Should You Do If the Allergic Reaction Is Minor?
While allergic reactions that don’t cause anaphylaxis aren’t as serious, they can still be scary and painful. If itchy or burning skin is bothering you, then wash it with some lukewarm water and mild soap.
Then apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. A cold compress can also bring some relief. If you were poisoned by something like poison ivy, then make sure that you wear all your clothes so that you don’t get it on you again.
If you’re experiencing a lot of sneezing or coughing due to pets, pollen, or dust, then get some over-the-counter medication.
Antihistamines are ideal, but you should think about avoiding ones like Benadryl that can make you drowsy. Hives will subside on their own. But, in the meantime, you should avoid warm showers/baths and apply cold compresses.
Want More Content? Keep Exploring
We hope this article helped you figure out what to do in the event of an allergic reaction. The key is to stay calm and assess the situation.
React accordingly and seek any medical attention that you or the individual might require. In the future, make sure that the individual with allergies always has their necessary medication on them, to prevent dangerous situations from happening.
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