Severe Allergic Reaction Treatment
For a minor allergic reaction, see Allergic Reaction Treatment.
1. Seek emergency care
Get immediate help if the person has these symptoms or a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) even if there are no 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
- Skin that itches, tingles, swells, or develops raised red areas (hives)
- Anxiety or dizziness
- Loss of consciousness
2. Inject Epinephrine Immediately
If the person has an anaphylaxis action plan from a doctor for injecting epinephrine and other emergency measures, follow it.
Otherwise, if the person carries an epinephrine shot -- it's a good idea to always carry two shots -- or one is available:
- Inject epinephrine if the person is unable to.
- If the person has a history of anaphylaxis, don't wait for signs of a severe reaction to inject epinephrine.
- Read and follow patient instructions carefully.
- Inject epinephrine into outer muscle of the thigh. Avoid injecting into a vein or buttock muscles.
- Do not inject medicine into hands or feet, which can cause tissue damage. If this happens, notify the emergency room staff.
- The person may need more than one injection if there’s no improvement after the first. For an adult, inject again after 5 to 15 minutes. For a child, inject again after 5 to 20 minutes.
3. Do CPR if the Person Stops Breathing
4. Follow Up
- Make sure that someone stays with the person for 24 hours after anaphylaxis in case of another attack.
- Report the reaction to the person's doctor.