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Friday, October 31, 2014

allergic reactions

(Shutterstock image)

I was at the library listening to a presentation and overheard the woman behind me telling a friend that her daughter had an allergic reaction that day and had been in the emergency room.

I turned around and told her I didn't mean to be creepy and listen in on her conversation, but that my son had also experienced anaphylaxis, and it can be really scary as a parent to watch it.

She said, "Oh, it wasn't anaphylaxis. Her throat was just closing off, she was just having an allergic reaction." I said, "that IS anaphylaxis!!! You know she can have a re-bound effect, right?" (Even after you are treated for anaphylaxis, you can experience a "re-bound" - the symptoms can come back.)

I told the woman that she better check in on her daughter! An hour later, she tapped me on the shoulder and said, my daughter just sent a text and said it feels like her airway is closing off again. I think she saw the look of shock on my face, and I told her she needed to get her daughter to the emergency room - FAST!!

She said that her daughter was older and could drive herself. I told her, "not if she stops breathing!" I knew that death can happen in as little as 30 minutes. That scary fact has always stuck with me.

The National Institutes of Health lists symptoms of anaphylaxis: 
  • Skin—itching, hives, redness, swelling
  • Nose—sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose
  • Mouth—itching, swelling of the lips or tongue
  • Throat—itching, tightness, difficulty swallowing, swelling of the back of the throat
  • Chest—shortness of breath, cough, wheeze, chest pain, tightness
  • Heart—weak pulse, passing out, shock
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) tract—vomiting, diarrhea, cramps
  • Nervous system—dizziness or fainting 
There are lots of things that can cause anaphylaxis, you need to let your family/friends and co-workers know if you have a food allergy or are allergic to medications or bees.

I would also wear an alert bracelet. There are cute bracelets for kids.  And there are a lot of companies that make allergy alert jewelry for adults too. You can do an internet search and find a LOT of options - bracelets, necklaces, stickers, etc.

Remember, anaphylaxis is a medical emergency! Get help fast!!


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