Wondering if your nagging cold is actually an allergy? Or what about your
new skin cream that made your hands break out? Distinguishing an allergy from a
non-allergic condition is not always a clear-cut task. But knowing the
difference can sometimes help you solve what's ailing you, which in turn could
mean faster relief.
Mary Fields knows just how difficult pinpointing an allergy can be. The
64-year-old Bronx resident tells WebMD she was convinced her frequent hives
were caused by something...
A serious, widespread allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. It may affect skin, airways, and organs. It also happens very quickly after taking a drug, often within minutes or seconds.
Anaphylaxis is an emergency and is life-threatening. Symptoms include:
Trouble breathing or throat feels like its closing
Dizziness or fainting
Hives covering much of the body
Shock or unconsciousness
If you have any of these symptoms, call 911. Use an epinephrine shot if you have one, and take antihistamines to help slow down the reaction. Even if the reaction goes away, you still need to go to the hospital.
Mild Drug Allergy: What You Should Do
Depending on your situation, your doctor may suggest that you:
Stop taking the drug. This may be enough to make symptoms go away. Remember that your doctor needs to know if you stop taking a prescribed medication.
Take an antihistamine, like Benadryl (diphenhydramine).
Use a prescription medication. Your doctor may want you to take a steroid medicine.