An allergic reaction can happen anywhere, anytime, and can sometimes require a visit to the emergency room.
More than 50 million Americans experience all types of allergies, including latex, skin and eye, food and drug, indoor/outdoor, and insect allergies. From common food allergies to unknown reactions to new medications, it’s important to know all the signs and symptoms so you can expect the unexpected.
Allergic reactions are hypersensitive reactions that occur when your immune system responds abnormally to allergens like pollen, dust, and certain foods. For a majority of people, these substances are harmless; but for those who are allergic, their reactions can vary from a slight rash to difficulty breathing.
If you typically experience seasonal allergies, check out our blog Nip Your Seasonal Allergy Symptoms in the Bud for practical tips to survive allergy seasons.
After a person touches, swallows, or inhales an allergen, the body makes a protein called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Allergen molecules and IgE bind together in an antigen-antibody reaction which then leads to the release of chemicals (i.e., histamine) in the body. When these chemicals are released into the body, they can cause inflammatory symptoms, including rashes, sneezing, and itching.
Reactions can occur seconds or hours after contact with an allergen, and some reactions may take more than a day to appear. Sensitivities can also be localized or affect the whole body, depending on the situation, and can range from mild to severe or life-threatening reactions.
Your symptoms will greatly depend on what you are allergic to and how you come into contact with it. For example, you might feel sick if you ingest something you are allergic to, sneeze a lot when exposed to pollen, or develop a rash to a skin allergen.
In more severe cases, you could go into anaphylactic shock when stung by a bee or when you ingest peanuts or shellfish, as another example.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction:
If you or your loved one experience a mild or non-life-threatening reaction, visit your healthcare provider to determine your action plan and next steps.
Most reactions are either immediate (occurs within 24 hours of exposure) or delayed (occurs after 24 hours of exposure). Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of an immediate allergic reaction and can lead to sudden respiratory failure. This affects the entire body and usually develops within minutes of exposure.
Anaphylaxis symptoms include:
If you have a severe reaction, visit your nearest emergency room or local ER Near Me immediately for diagnosis and treatment or call an ambulance, even if the person starts to feel better. ER Near Me has four convenient locations, is open 24/7, and offers an extremely low wait time as compared with traditional hospital ERs.
If someone has symptoms of anaphylaxis, you should also do the following:
Allergies can be seasonal or year-round, temporary or life-long, and immediate or delayed. Ultimately, each individual reacts differently which is why it’s critical to work with your healthcare provider to create a plan of action to manage your allergies and help you find ways to avoid them and prevent an allergic reaction.