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First Aid & Emergencies

Allergic Reaction Treatment

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Call 911 now if the person has had severe reactions in the past or has any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • Tightness in the throat or a feeling that the airways are closing
  • Hoarseness or trouble speaking
  • Swollen lips, tongue, or throat
  • Nausea, abdominal pain, or vomiting
  • Fast heartbeat or pulse
  • Anxiety or dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Other symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

1. Treat Symptoms

  • For mild allergy symptoms, such as hay fever or hives, give an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine.
  • For stuffy nose, give an OTC decongestant.
  • For itchy, watery eyes, use OTC allergy eye drops.
  • For itchy allergic rash, apply cold compresses and an OTC hydrocortisone cream.

2. Follow Up

  • Watch for worsening symptoms, including signs of anaphylaxis.

See Severe Allergic Reaction Treatment.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Scott Keller, MD on November 21, 2013

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