When it comes to food allergies, being safe and prepared is always our motto. If you or your child has a known food allergy, ALWAYS CARRY EPINEPHRINE AND USE IT AGGRESSIVELY. The goal is to be vigilant and keep the real risks of food allergies in perspective. Fatal allergic reactions are rare, especially compared to many ordinary events like driving a car that can carry greater risk. However, it is always a safer choice to carry your Epinephrine if you have an allergy. Here are some helpful suggestions from our trusted Allergists at Strauss Allergy & Asthma:
When handling a food allergy emergency there are 2 questions:
Do I need Epi?
Do I need help?
Anaphylaxis is defined by the quick onset of symptoms in 2 or more organ systems. For example, hives and repetitive sneezing, cough or breathing difficulty, or abdominal pain and vomiting with itching. We use the phrase, “More than skin, Epi goes in.” Epinephrine (EpiPen, AuViQ, or equivalent) is the antidote for ANY significant allergic reactions. There are no contraindications. It will make you or your child feel better, fast. When in doubt, use the injector!
For itching or hives only, we recommend cetirizine (Zyrtec). Benadryl will make you feel sleepy and nonfunctional for the rest of the day. Even if you do not think it affects you, it has been shown to slow reaction time in driving and diminish test-taking ability compared to newer antihistamines. Antihistamines will not stop an anaphylactic reaction. If symptoms progress quickly or do not resolve, use Epi.
Once you decide to use Epi, you can reassess in 15 minutes if you are in a safe state. If you are stable you do not have to go to the ER. This is a major change to our food allergy guidelines. Most of the time symptoms will resolve with Epi, and you can observe as the day or night progresses. If symptoms are not resolving, are severe, or you do not feel comfortable with the situation, call 911.
If you have concerns or want to review your action plan and options for allergy treatment including food desensitization, please contact us at Strauss Allergy & Asthma for further help.
Allied Physicians Group is a partnership of more than 150 dedicated, caring physicians and 350 highly trained support staff. We offer pediatric care, family medicine, and other specialties at our practice locations. Allied Physicians Group offers clinic locations in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, and Orange Counties. If you are looking for a physician near you click here, or for more information, please visit: https://alliedphysiciansgroup.com.