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    Allergies and Anaphylaxis

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    Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that needs to be treated right away. If you have an anaphylactic reaction, you need an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot as soon as possible, and someone should call 911 for emergency medical help. Left untreated, it can be deadly.

    Epinephrine can reverse the symptoms within minutes. If this doesn't happen, you may need a second shot within half an hour. These shots, which you need a prescription to get, come pre-filled and in ready-to-use pens.

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    You shouldn’t take an antihistamine for an anaphylactic reaction.

    Anaphylaxis is rare, and most people recover from it. But it's important to tell your doctor about any drug allergies you have before any kind of medical treatment, including dental care. It’s also a good idea to wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant or carry a card with information about your allergy.

    If you've had an anaphylactic reaction before, you have a higher risk of having another one. You also have a higher risk if you have a family history of anaphylaxis or have asthma.

    Symptoms

    The first signs of an anaphylactic reaction may look like typical allergy symptoms: a runny nose or a skin rash. But within about 30 minutes, more serious signs appear.

    There is usually more than one of these:

    Some people also remember feeling a "sense of doom” right before the attack.

    As many as 1 out of every 5 people may have a second anaphylactic reaction within 12 hours of the first. This is called a biphasic anaphylaxis.

    Treatment

    Epinephrine is the most effective treatment for anaphylaxis, and the shot should be given right away (usually in the thigh). If you’ve had an anaphylaxis reaction before, you should carry at least two doses of epinephrine with you at all times.

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