Prepare for accidental allergen exposure

Always carry an epinephrine auto-injector for serious allergic reactions. A combined syringe and needle, auto-injectors are designed to release a single dose of medication when pressed against your skin. Make sure that:

  • Your auto-injector is not expired
  • You know how to use your auto-injector
  • Your family and close friends know how to use your auto-injector in case you're not able to use it yourself

Work with your doctor to create a detailed plan that you and your loved ones can refer to if you come into contact with an unexpected allergen.

If you suspect anaphylaxis, call emergency medical services

If you develop any of the symptoms of anaphylaxis, first inject yourself with epinephrine, then seek emergency medical help immediately. Emergency medical personnel may give you one or more of the following treatments:

  • Antihistamines to reduce swelling of airways and improve breathing
  • Albuterol (ProAir HFA, Ventolin HFA, others) to help relax airway muscles

To reduce your chances of having an anaphylactic reaction, work with an allergist to identify your food triggers and actively avoid them.

March 04, 2014 See more In-depth