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(Anaphylactic Reaction; Severe Allergic Reaction)
- Foods and food additives, especially eggs, peanuts, seafood, cow's milk, soy, fish, shellfish, seeds, and tree nuts
- Insect stings or bites from bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants
- Medications such as antibiotics (especially penicillin), medications used in anesthesia, seizure medications, and muscle relaxants
- Latex products such as gloves, medical tubing, and condoms
- Blood transfusions
|Allergic Reaction to Medication (Hives)|
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- Hives and itching
- Warmth or redness of skin
- Swelling, redness, stinging or burning, especially on the face, mouth, eyes, or hands
- Lightheadedness and pale/blue skin color
- Chest tightness, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and wheezing
- Nausea, vomiting, cramping, diarrhea , or abdominal pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Epinephrine (adrenaline) injection—Makes blood vessels constrict, relaxes the airway, stops itching and hives, and relieves gastrointestinal cramping.
- Other medications—Corticosteroids and/or antihistamines may be given after the epinephrine to decrease inflammation and improve breathing.
- Bronchodilators—To improve breathing.
- IV fluids—To maintain blood pressure.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)—May be necessary in severe cases when anaphylaxis leads to cardiovascular collapse. Severe anaphylaxis may require mechanical ventilation until swelling is brought under control.
- Allergy shots can decrease the risk of anaphylaxis and reduce the severity of the reactions to certain triggers.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet that lists your allergies.
- Tell your doctor or dentist about your allergies before taking any medication. When possible, ask that medications be taken as a pill. Allergic reactions can be more severe with injected medications.
- Your doctor may give you a self-injectable epinephrine kit to keep with you at home, work, in the car, and when you travel. Be sure family and friends know how to use the kit too. Get training from your doctor and practice using it in the doctor's office.
- Make sure your epinephrine kit is not expired.
- Avoid any exercise that triggers a reaction. In some cases, exercise-induced anaphylaxis can be triggered by food or specific food allergies. Stop exercising at the first sign of a reaction.
- Make sure the school nurse and teachers know about any allergies your child has. If your child has self-injectable epinephrine, make sure school staff knows how to use it and understand when it is needed.
- If you are allergic to insect stings, wear protective clothing when outside.
- Always remain in the doctor or dentist's office 30 minutes after you have an injection. Report any symptoms right away.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 09/2017
- Update Date: 09/10/2014