A severe allergic reaction, also known as anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, is a life-threatening condition, and is fatal without prompt treatment. While many people have seasonal allergies with mild symptoms, some substances can cause people with severe allergies to experience difficulty breathing, swelling, dizziness, and fainting.
Dignity Health provides fast treatment for allergic reactions in Arizona. If you need to go to the ER, use our InQuicker™ online tool to select your estimated hospital arrival time and wait at home until your time to be seen. Upon arrival and check-in, you will see a nurse who will assess your situation and determine the next appropriate level of care.
Symptoms of a Severe Allergic Reaction
The main symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include:
- Breathing problems
- Chest tightness
- Rapid pulse
- Swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Loss of consciousness
If you have one more of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 for emergency medical care.
What Causes a Severe Allergic Reaction?
Allergies occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to a substance — an allergen — and attacks it. Allergens can be anything that triggers the immune system to react.
Common allergens that cause severe allergic reactions are:
- Foods — cow’s milk, fish, eggs, peanuts, soy, and wheat
- Certain medications — penicillin and other antibiotics
- Insect stings — from bees, wasps, hornets, and fire ants
Some people have genes that make them more likely to be hypersensitive to allergens. Doctors call this a genetic predisposition. If you have severe allergies, talk with a doctor at Dignity Health to learn about personalized treatment.
Severe Allergic Reaction Treatment at Dignity Health
Emergency room doctors at Dignity Health can treat severe allergic reactions by giving epinephrine.
Your doctor can prescribe an epinephrine autoinjector for you to use in case of an allergy attack. You should always carry your injector with you and know how to use it. In some cases, you may need to visit an ER or urgent care center after you use your autoinjector.
If you have a child with severe allergies, be sure to put an anaphylaxis action plan on file with the school, summer camp, and other places that may provide care. Dignity Health urgent care centers and emergency departments offer treatment for all types of severe allergic reactions in Arizona.