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First Aid & Emergencies

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Drug Allergy Treatment

Call 911 if the person has:

  • 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
  • Hives and trouble breathing
  • Other symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • Had severe reactions in the past

1. When to See a Doctor

See a doctor immediately for these symptoms:

  • A fast-spreading painful red or blistered area on the skin
  • Top layer of skin peels off in sheets without blistering
  • Scalded-looking raw areas of flesh
  • Discomfort
  • Fever
  • Condition spreading to eyes, mouth, and genitals

Call the doctor as soon as possible if the person has:

  • Swollen face, tongue, or lips, even without breathing difficulty or increase in swelling

See Severe Allergic Reaction Treatment.

2. Stop Taking the Drug that Triggered the Reaction

3. Control Itching

For a mild reaction:

  • Use cool compresses on the area or have the person take cool showers.
  • Avoid strong soaps, detergents, and other chemicals.
  • Stay in a cool room. Have the person wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothes.

4. Follow Up

  • Call or see a doctor if home treatment doesn't help or symptoms get worse.
  • Serious symptoms may require a hospital stay.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Scott Keller, MD on November 21, 2013

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