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Are You Experiencing One of These Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction?

An allergic reaction occurs because your immune system identifies harmless substances as foreign substances and attacks them. There are many triggers for allergic reactions, the most common being pollen, animal dander, or food components.

Allergic reactions can be uncomfortable. They're mostly harmless if they remain limited to a small body region. They become dangerous when several organ systems are affected by an excessive immune response. 

Called anaphylaxis, this situation can quickly become life-threatening and requires rapid action.

At Houston Medical ER in Houston and Spring, Texas, our board-certified physicians and registered nurses offer treatments for allergic reactions to help you feel better and reduce your risk of complications.

What does an allergic reaction look like?

Typical symptoms of an allergic reaction are skin swelling or reddening. Other symptoms include:

  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Tingling, burning, and watering eyes
  • Itching of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Other non-specific symptoms such as diarrhea, headaches, and exhaustion

A dangerous allergic reaction occurs when the symptoms worsen significantly within a short period. Blood pressure can drop sharply, leading to reduced blood flow to vital organs, causing anaphylactic shock.

Common allergens

Depending on how your body is confronted with the possible allergy-triggering substances, you can differentiate common allergies.

Inhalant allergies

Inhalant allergies result from indoor and outdoor airborne pollutants like mold, dust, or pollen. One of the most prevalent inhalant allergy types is hay fever. Air pollution might also cause allergic reactions. Volatile organic molecules, or VOCs, can cause inhalant allergies.

Food allergies

Then there are food allergies that cause immediate reactions. Allergens from certain foods cause allergic reactions in the mucous membranes in your mouth, nose, throat, or gastrointestinal area. Respiratory problems such as asthma and skin reactions can also occur.

Contact allergies 

Contact allergies include latex allergies or allergies to certain fragrances or preservatives in cosmetics and cleaning agents. Contact allergies to metals such as nickel are also very common. 

Insect venom (like bee stings) can cause serious allergic reactions. You may not know you have this kind of allergy until you react to a sting or bite with severe symptoms such as a rash all over your body, shortness of breath, nausea, and circulatory problems.

Treating allergic reactions in the ER

Treatment for allergic reactions depends on their severity. Your Houston Medical ER provider may recommend watchful waiting, medications, an epinephrine shot, or even CPR in severe cases. Treatment may not be necessary if your symptoms are mild.

Treating an allergic reaction at home

For the short-term treatment of allergy-related symptoms and complaints, you can find various medications at the drugstore, like antihistamines and cortisone creams. 

Epinephrine shots may also be necessary for severe allergic reactions or impending anaphylactic shock. For example, someone with a severe peanut allergy should always have an epinephrine shot in their emergency kit. Sometimes seconds count.

Allergy testing

We might recommend skin prick tests, elimination food tests, blood tests, or a combination of these allergy tests to determine what you're allergic to. 

Oral medications, nasal sprays, eyedrops, allergy shots, and emergency epinephrine are all ways to treat allergic responses. 

Call us at Houston Medical ER or come in immediately if you or a loved one is experiencing a severe allergic reaction. We’re open every day of the week, 24 hours a day, to provide high-quality emergency care for allergic reactions and other medical needs.

For any medical procedure, patients respond to treatment differently, hence each patient's results may vary.
**In case of a life threatening emergency, immediately call 911.
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