How to Recognize and Manage Allergic Reactions

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How to Recognize and Manage Allergic Reactions 

Recognizing an Allergic Reaction

Allergic reactions happen when a person’s immune system overreacts to something usually harmless, such as food, pollen, bug stings/bites, or medications. Although very common, allergic reactions can be fatal so it is important to recognize the spectrum of symptoms occurring during an allergic reaction, what to do before help arrives and how to prevent incidences in the future.

Mild Allergic Reactions:

  • Hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Nasal congestion, runny nose
  • Rashes

Moderate to Severe Allergic Reactions:

  • Swelling of the hands, feet, lips, face, or throat
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.
  • Difficulty breathing, wheezing, or chest tightness
  • Throat tightness or hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Anxiety
  • Painful or blistering skin
  • Losing consciousness

Severe Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis):

Anaphylaxis is a type of shock, meaning that your body is not delivering enough blood to its organs. Symptoms include:

  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Associated with any of the more severe symptoms above
  • Most common symptoms: hives and swelling

What to do Until Help Arrives?

  • Immediately call 911
  • Ask the person if he or she is carrying an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen, Auvi-Q, others) to treat an allergic attack
  • Ask whether you should help inject the medication if person has
  • Injections typically happen in the individual’s thigh
  • Have the person lie still on his or her back
  • Loosen tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket. Don’t give the person anything to drink
  • If there’s vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking
  • If no signs of breathing, coughing or movement, begin CPR
  • Get emergency treatment even if symptoms start to improve

*After anaphylaxis, it’s possible for symptoms to recur. Monitoring in a hospital for several hours is necessary.


Knowing the trigger of an allergic reaction is essential for preventing the symptoms from recurring in the future, and it will help your doctor come up with the best treatment plan for you. Most common allergies occur from:

  • Recent changes in your diet
  • New soaps or detergents
  • New medications or supplements
  • Environmental exposures

If you happen to have an anaphylactic allergy keep an Epipen on you at all times – make sure it is kept in appropriate conditions and set reminders for yourself on expiry dates. It is also beneficial to keep treatment products on hand such as:

Lastly, be conciensious about those around you as the smallest things such as heavily scented perfumes and dietary restrictions can lead to allergic reactions.

Life is Precious. Be Prepared. 

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