Allergies affect people differently, from something as simple as a sniffle or sneeze to serious emergencies that can be life-threatening. Whether the allergies are “deal with it” or dangerous, it’s important to have an Allergy Action Agenda, to be sure you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.
Your Allergy Action Agenda:
- Plan. Know your allergies and what happens when you’re exposed
- Prevent. Avoid any of your allergens when possible
- Protect. Inform others you trust, so they know what to do if you have a reaction
There are common allergens most of us have heard of like pollen and peanuts, but since we’re all unique, what doesn’t affect one person can cause someone else to break out in hives. What should you do? Recognize your allergies, what happens if you’re exposed, and what to do if you have a reaction.
Along with being self-aware, informing those you regularly come in contact with is proactive and protective. Keeping close friends, family members, teachers, classmates, co-workers, teammates, etc. in the loop will give everyone a heads up.
In the event you can’t help yourself after being hit with an adverse reaction, someone you trust can come to your aid. These folks can also do their part by eliminating any foods, perfumes, plants, and other items you may be allergic to from their homes, offices, and other shared spaces.
Red Eyes, Itchy Thighs, and Other Signs
Allergies can present themselves in a world of ways. But there are common signs and symptoms* to keep an eye on, especially if you think you’ve been exposed.
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness of chest
- Runny nose
- Swollen, red, watery eyes
- Tingling in mouth
- Swelling of tongue, lips, throat
- Localized swelling
- Puffy face
- Skin flaking or peeling
- Anaphylaxis – severe reaction that can cause shock. Signs include loss of consciousness, drop in blood pressure, weak pulse, nausea/vomiting.
After the Fact
If you’ve been exposed and notice any of the above signs/symptoms, it’s important to keep track of your current state and see if you start to get better or worse. If you tend to sneeze when you’re around flowers but you know it will stop once you’re out of the area, then you’re sure to be OK. Perhaps you see a rash forming on your arms where you tested out a new perfume. You needn’t panic, but calling your dermatologist is a smart step.
However, if you experience extreme symptoms like swelling of your throat, take action immediately. Call for help right away or use an epinephrine auto-injector if you own one and you’ve been advised by your doctor to do so. Know your body, how it reacts, and don’t waste time if you’re experiencing something serious.
It’s up to you to take as much control over your life as you can. While in public, we cannot predict what may happen, but we can protect ourselves when possible. Dining out? Ask the waiter to confirm all ingredients in a dish. Meeting new people? A friendly wave instead of a handshake makes sense. Your old college friend turned into a “cat lady?” You may need to meet her someplace other than her apartment. Simple steps can save you from allergic reactions, allowing you to enjoy life without as much worry.
Be Aware and Share
If you think you’re allergic to something, see your health care provider. They can administer tests to confirm or cross out your concern. If you are indeed allergic, you’ll be advised to avoid the allergen or perhaps take a medication to prevent it from causing severe symptoms. For those who are already well aware of what they’re allergic to, avoiding the substance is essential. And that means alerting others too. While it may pose an inconvenience, if your reactions are potentially fatal, they’ll be quite happy to make the effort to prevent your suffering an allergic reaction.
If you’re having an allergic reaction and need to see a health provider, vybe urgent care is well-equipped to deal with allergies. If you’re having a potentially life-threatening, severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), please go to the Emergency Room.