The holiday season is filled with tempting foods and alluring gifts, but for those with allergies, the surprises of the holiday season aren’t always merry. Every scented lotion or perfume becomes a potential pathway to an allergic rash. And behind every delicious treat lies the risk of a serious allergic reaction that could send you to Laredo Emergency Room.
With all the potluck dinner gatherings and seasonal gifts such as bath and beauty products, gift recipients and party-goers are bound to stumble onto an allergen. Those who haven’t had an allergic reaction before may even experience one for the first time. That makes it especially important for everyone, not just experienced allergy sufferers, to enter the holiday season ready to not only enjoy the good things it has to offer – but also to identify and respond to an allergic reaction if one happens to you or a loved one this season.
What to watch for
The kind of allergic reaction you have may depend on the allergen you’ve been exposed to, but you can typically expect to experience the following:
Rash – A red, itchy rash is a common allergic reaction to many types of allergens from foods to substances that come in contact with your skin.
Other skin reactions – Hives, bumps, blisters, scaling or cracking, and swelling can all signal an allergic reaction.
Swollen tongue – This tell-tale allergic reaction is often associated with an allergy to bee stings – but it’s also common with allergies to fruits and vegetables. Other parts of the mouth area, including the lips and throat, can also be affected.
Breathing problems – From the wheezing associated with hay fever to full-blown asthma, breathing problems can be an allergic reaction brought on by a wide range of irritants.
Anaphylaxis – With this serious, even life-threatening overreaction of the immune system, allergic reaction symptoms are wide-ranging and can include trouble breathing, vomiting, skin reactions, loss of consciousness, and more.
The time it takes for an allergic reaction to happen can vary from just a few seconds up to several hours after exposure to an allergen. Allergens can hide in almost any food but are most commonly found in the proteins cow’s milk, peanuts and tree nuts, wheat, soy, and shellfish. Beauty products like soaps, lotions, nail products, fragrances, and more contain preservatives or fragrances that can also cause an allergic reaction like a rash. Jewelry and other gifts made up of certain metals like nickel can cause an allergic reaction of the skin.
What to do
Most allergic reactions are uncomfortable but not serious. In many cases, self-treatment with an over-the-counter product such as an antihistamine can bring relief for mild symptoms like a rash. At Laredo Emergency Room, we recommend that those who suffer from even mild allergic reactions frequently see a primary care physician to discuss ways to prevent and manage your allergies.
However, when the allergic reaction is severe and involves swelling of the tongue or mouth, trouble breathing, or any symptoms of anaphylaxis, first quickly use an epi-pen (epinephrine) if you have one. Then it’s time to come to Laredo Emergency Room. And even through the holidays, 24/7/365, we’re open to treat your allergic reaction or any emergency.
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