When is an allergic reaction an emergency?

When is an allergic reaction an emergency?

Certain allergies don’t necessarily warrant a full on emergency, no matter how inconvenient and uncomfortable the side effects may be to the patient. Swelling, a rash, or uncontrollable sneezing are mild reactions to allergies, and can usually be resolved with home remedies, or  medication.

But, what happens when an allergy moves from mild irritation to full on anaphylactic shock? And how do you know?

“The biggest mistake is not treating a severe allergic reaction,” Scott H. Sicherer, MD, an Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe professor of paediatrics, allergy and immunology and the chief of the division of allergy and immunology in the department of paediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and author of Food Allergies: A Complete Guide for Eating When Your Life Depends on It told Everyday Health. “The people who die from anaphylaxis are those who had a delay in treatment.”

Signs that you may be experiencing anaphylaxis include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Difficult or irregular breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy throat or mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing

Some people also experience itchiness, red bumps or welts on the skin (hives), and skin redness, dizziness, light-headedness, heart palpitations, chest discomfort or tightness, mental confusion, weakness, lower blood pressure, rapid pulse, loss of consciousness, and fainting.

Anaphylaxis is treated with varying doses of epinephrine.

However, “The reason you must go to the ER is because you’re having a serious allergic reaction, and even if you feel better after taking epinephrine, the symptoms can still come back,” Sicherer says.

“You should go to the ER and stay there for at least four hours to make sure the symptoms are under control”.

If you suffer from any allergies, being covered by a medical insurance is imperative, in the case of an emergency.

Insurers like Affinity Health have comprehensive Day to Day and hospital plans, for times like these.

iER’s call centre staff are expertly trained to assist you through an emergency, and dispatch the exact emergency response team you need to get you to the hospital quickly and efficiently. Download the iER app today, and ensure you can reach the help you need when you need it.

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