When is an Allergic Reaction Emergency?

Each year, there are 50 million Americans who suffer from allergy-related symptoms. These allergic reactions can manifest as minor discomforts such as hay fever, asthma, eczema, and hives that can be treated over-the-counter or resolved without any specific treatment.

If your allergy is more severe, it may limit your ability to enjoy activities and possibly result in death. You should consult a physician for a comprehensive review and allergy testing if you experience a recurrent allergic reaction.

What is an Allergic Reaction?

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, an allergic reaction occurs when the immune system in your body mistakenly identifies a substance as a threat. In response, the body produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E, or IgE.

When you are exposed to the substance the next time, these antibodies signal the release of chemicals such as histamine and leukotrienes. These chemicals, in turn, cause allergic reactions such as itching, hives, and swelling.

There are two significant types of allergies: Type I allergies (a.k.a. immediate or IgE allergies) and Type IV allergies, also known as delayed-type or cell-mediated allergies.

Type I allergies

A type I reaction (i.e., an immediate hypersensitivity reaction) results from the release of histamine and several other mediators by mast cells and basophils against an active antigen. Some examples of type 1 reactions include anaphylaxis and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.

Type IV allergies

In Type IV hypersensitivity, which is often referred to as delayed hypersensitivity, symptoms start appearing 48 to 72 hours after exposure to the allergen.

The immune system does not respond to the infection with antibodies (humoral) but rather by the cell-mediated response.

Causes of Allergic Reactions

Allergies are the third leading chronic disease amongst children. The exact cause of allergies is unknown; however, some typical food substances such as eggs, soy, milk, and peanuts are the major causes of severe allergies.

Other causes of allergies include:
  • Medication and vaccines
  • Detergent and hair dyes
  • Insect bites
  • Pet dangers
  • Pollens

Symptoms of Allergic Reaction

The symptoms of allergic reactions vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Severe nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Rashes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Consciousness

Risk Factors

Allergies may be inherited. Allergic reactions appear to be more common in children; however, people of all races, ages, and social backgrounds can suffer from this condition. So if your parents have allergies, there’s a higher risk of developing this condition.

Allergies may develop slowly over time and may be triggered by hormone changes, stress, perfume, cigarette smoke, and other environmental factors.


As soon as you present symptoms of an allergic reaction, your doctor will examine you and inquire about your health history.

If your condition is recurrent, your doctor may ask you to keep a diary detailing your allergic reaction symptoms, the substances causing them, and the severity of the attack.

If your doctor is unsure of his diagnosis, he may order allergic tests to diagnose the source of your allergy. The most commonly ordered types of allergy tests are:

  • Skin tests
  • Blood tests

Visit our Emergency Room – Supremecare ER in Texas

If you are suffering from severe allergic reactions, please visit our emergency room. We are open 24/7 to serve you with expert medical care. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us.

If you have any of the following symptoms along with allergic reactions:

  1. Trouble breathing
  2. Throat, lips or tongue swelling
  3. Increased heart rate
  4. Low blood pressure
  5. Severe skin rashes (hives)
  6. Fever
  7. Dizziness
  8. Diarrhea

How to Treat Allergic Reactions

Home remedies for allergies can range from simple go-to tips to complex and extensive plans. Mild allergies can be treated at home using an over-the-counter medication, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, you should always carry an Epi-Pen. An Epi-Pen contains a prefilled syringe that releases epinephrine in an emergency.

How to Prevent Allergic Reactions

Over time, people learn to recognize substances that trigger their reactions and avoid a recurrent allergic breakout.

The allergic reaction should always be treated as a medical emergency unless mild and restricted to small areas. Any sudden increase in the reaction can lead to the body going into shock, resulting in cardiac arrest.


Physical exposure to a substance can cause the body to respond by increasing the number of allergy-related immune cells. This process heightens the risk of a future allergic reaction. To avoid recurrence, avoid all known triggers.

If you suffer from an allergic attack and symptoms do not subside within five minutes or continue to worsen even after the administration of an Epi-Pen, you should consult your local hospital for immediate medical care.

Tags: Health Tips

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