Severe allergic reaction

What Is A Severe Allergic Reaction?

A severe allergic reaction, also known as anaphylaxis, is a life-threatening reaction that typically occurs in response to an allergen. The human body’s immune system mistakes a usually harmless substance, such as a peanut, as an invader. It then releases chemicals, such as histamines, which cause a severe reaction.

Signs and Symptoms of a Severe Allergic Reaction

Severe allergic reactions often develop rapidly, within minutes of exposure to the allergen. Signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may include:

  • Itching or tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of the tongue or throat
  • Hives or flushed skin
  • Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Confusion, anxiety, dizziness or feeling faint
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness

Treating a Severe Allergic Reaction

Severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening. If someone is having an anaphylactic reaction, call 911 immediately. Treatment for asevere allergic reaction typically involves injection with an epinephrine auto-injector, such as EpiPen or Auvi-Q. Epinephrine will help reverse the allergic reaction and reduce symptoms. Further hospital care may also be necessary.

Avoiding An Allergic Reaction

The best way to avoid a severe allergic reaction is to prevent exposure to the allergen. One of the best ways to do this is by researching food labels and ingredients thoroughly. If food allergies are suspected, it's important to speak to a doctor. There are also some over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, that can help to reduce symptoms.