Anaphylaxis and Serious Allergies

Part 2 of a series on allergies focuses on life-threatening allergies. When should you worry about them and what should you do for them?

Rob Lamberts, MD
5-minute read
Episode #46

What Causes Delayed Allergic Reactions?

Insect bites or stings often can cause a delayed reaction, with prolonged redness and significant swelling at the site of the sting. The good news is that people with delayed allergic reactions are not at increased risk of having anaphylaxis. If your arm swells up significantly after a bee sting, it does not mean you are in danger.

How to Live with Serious Allergies

So if what should you do if you think you have a serious allergy? Here are my quick and dirty tips for dealing with bad allergies:

Get tested: Know what you are allergic to. Allergy testing can determine what exactly what you should avoid, and may give a means for treatment. Bee sting allergy, for example, can be reduced or eliminated by getting allergy injections (as I described in my last article). Latex allergy can go undiagnosed for years without testing.

Get educated: Food allergies can be very hard to deal with.  Peanut oil, eggs, and even shellfish can be hidden in many foods you may be served. Know what you should avoid and be on your guard for them. Latex can also be hard to avoid, so knowing what objects are made of it could save your life.

With drug allergies, you should make sure your doctor and pharmacist not only know your allergies, but the exact kind of allergic reaction you experience. Getting an upset stomach and diarrhea, or even a rash from an antibiotic, may not mean you should avoid the drug 100% of the time. But people who have had anaphylaxis from something like penicillin should avoid not only penicillin, but also antibiotics related to it.

Be prepared: People who have had a serious allergic reaction should wear something alerting others to their allergy. They should also carry an Epi-Pen, which is a device that injects the person with epinephrine. Epinephrine temporary counters the immediate threats of shock and breathing difficulties, giving the person time to get to the emergency room and get more aggressive care.

If you have family members with a serious allergy, you should also educate yourself about how to use an Epi-Pen and how to react to a serious allergic reaction.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Remember to check out the Get-Fit Guy on iTunes and Quickanddirtytips.com.

If you have topics, embarrassing or not, that you want me to cover, send them to housecalldoctor@quickanddirtytips.com, or you can submit them to me on twitter or my Facebook page.

Let me once again remind you that this podcast is for informational purposes only. My goal is to add to your medical knowledge and translate some of the weird medical stuff you hear, so when you do go to your doctor, your visits will be more fruitful. I don’t intend to replace your doctor; he or she is the one you should always consult about your own medical condition.

Catch you next time! Stay Healthy!

Allergy image courtesy of Shutterstock


Medical Disclaimer
Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.