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From Mild to Severe: How to Identify an Allergic Reaction

Knowing the Warning Signs Could Save a Life

An allergic reaction is defined as an atypical immune response to a foreign substance that enters the body. These reactions can range from mild to severe, with the severe episodes sometimes leading to a dangerous condition called anaphylaxis. These severe reactions are much more common than you would think. Over 40% of children admitted to the hospital with food allergies on an annual basis are shown to have experienced severe reactions such as anaphylaxis. Knowing the symptoms of allergic reactions can help you identify the immune response before it progresses into a more serious state.

Pulmonary and Circulatory Responses

Symptoms of allergic reactions can often present themselves in abnormal pulmonary function. In mild reactions, many warning signs mimic what is seen in a condition called hay fever. These symptoms can include: nasal congestion (rhinitis), a scratchy throat, and watery eyes brought on from the symptoms mentioned previously. In more severe cases, an atypical circulatory response may be present. For example, a patient could experience the above symptoms while also experiencing tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, wheezing, and even heart palpitations. Heart palpitations are medically defined as a feeling as though the heart is skipping or adding a beat to its rhythm. This sensation can also be felt within the neck and throat. These signs require immediate medical attention due to indicating the possibility of an anaphylactic reaction.

Digestive Warning Signs

The severity of digestive symptoms can be particularly hard to pinpoint when it comes to food allergies since many mild reactions also bring on digestive troubles. In moments of doubt, it is best to be on the safe side and seek out professional medical attention immediately. Symptoms of severe allergic reactions unrelated to food can cause digestive issues such as cramping in the abdominal area, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these digestive symptoms, consulting with a medical professional should be a priority in order to eliminate the possibility of a severe reaction such as anaphylaxis.

Additional Indicators of an Allergic Reaction

Some recognizable symptoms fall into their own categories altogether. In milder reactions, people can experience the appearance of rashes or hives. Hives are professionally known as urticaria, and they usually appear as red and swollen bumps on the skin’s surface. Itching is also considered a mild symptom that can appear alongside both of these warning signs.

In severe or anaphylactic reactions, patients may experience swelling that occurs in their face, tongue, or even their eyes. They may also find that their face start to flush, which is a feeling of warmth or redness that can spread to the neck and upper chest areas. Many sufferers of severe allergic reactions find themselves dealing with vertigo, the medical term used to describe dizziness or feeling off balance. Fear and anxiety are also sometimes seen in more serious reactions. The most severe response to an allergen is of course reaching a state of unconsciousness.

Every one of these symptoms has the potential of coming on more dramatically each additional time you introduce the substance in question to your body. This is why it is vital to identify the symptoms when they are mild, or in a place where they have not yet hit their peak. Promptly reaching out for medical attention has the potential to save a life. If you or your loved one have experienced these symptoms and you suspect an allergic reaction, call Prime Urgent Care at (713) 340-3111 to see what your next step should be.

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