Allergic reactions cover a very broad range. Sometimes it is a small area of rash, and other times it is an immediate life threatening reaction where seconds count.
Allergic reactions can occur from bee stings, ant bites, perfumes, and many different kinds of food. Sometimes the patient has never had a prior reaction, and other times this is a recurrent problem.
As Emergency Medicine Specialists we look at several issues to determine how bad or serious a reaction the patient is having:
After considering all of these issues and the overall patient status, the Emergency Medicine physician will initiate aggressive treatment to resolve the reaction. In some cases, IVs, repeated epinephrine shots, and airway control are needed. In other less severe cases a few doses of oral medicine will fix the problem.
So what do you do if you are witnessing an allergic reaction? If the patient is having a severe reaction and they have an epi pen, assist them in using it, as 911 is called. For less severe reactions get them to an Emergency Department for a full evaluation by an Emergency Medicine Specialist.
Allergic reactions are a very time sensitive disease and prompt medical evaluation can be lifesaving.