An allergic reaction can range from something as harmless as a rash or watery eyes, to more serious conditions like anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is life-threatening because it causes your blood pressure to drop and narrows your airways. What’s the result? You have a hard time breathing. When should you go to the ER? Right away!
This allergic reaction can happen just minutes or seconds after being exposed to an allergen. The most common triggers of anaphylaxis include bug bites, latex, x-ray dyes, and certain foods like peanuts or shellfish.
How do you know when to go to the ER?
Whenever someone has an anaphylactic reaction, go to the ER immediately for follow-up. Even if you’re able to administer a shot of epinephrine right away, don’t wait to see if the symptoms go away. Take the person to the ER right afterwards to make sure the symptoms don’t happen all over again. It’s important to note that anaphylaxis can become more severe after the first exposure.
If you don’t have an epipen on hand, call 911 right away. An ambulance will be able to administer medication and oxygen quickly.
What else can you do while you wait for the ambulance to arrive?
- Remove anything that can make the person’s symptoms worse.
- Perform rescue breathing or CPR if the person loses consciousness.
- Identify the possible cause of the person’s anaphylactic reaction.
What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?
- Itchy skin
- Pale skin
- Swollen tongue or throat
- Swelling of lips, face, or eyes
- Tingling mouth
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Stomach pain
When in doubt, call 911 or drive to the nearest emergency room.
Interested in learning about the most common food allergies? Read Hospitality Health ER’s blog to see which fruits, nuts, and seafoods are notorious for causing allergic reactions.