A serious allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, can kill you. As a result, millions of people rush to emergency rooms every year because their allergies are making it hard to breathe. That’s why researchers warn that if you know you have an allergy, you should consult an allergist before the problem mushrooms out of control.
According to a study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) 2012 Annual Scientific Meeting, researchers found that many people who crowd emergency rooms due to anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions (136 million visits a year) had not prepared for potentially serious allergy problems.
“When you have an anaphylactic reaction, epinephrine is important for managing life-threatening symptoms,” says researcher Sunday Clark, assistant professor of emergency medicine and public health at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Allergic people at risk should always carry two doses of epinephrine and regularly see an allergist to prevent severe allergic reactions that require hospitalization.”
“Although symptoms may not always be severe, allergies are serious and, in some cases, deadly,” warns allergist Stanley Fineman, president of ACAAI. “Allergies can be effectively controlled with proper diagnosis and treatment by a board-certified allergist that involves more than just relieving symptoms, but finding the source of the suffering.”
If you have had an anaphylaxis attack in the past, ACAAI says you should:
- Wear a medical bracelet that describes your allergy.
- Avoid your allergens. The most effective way to prevent future trouble is to avoid contact with your trigger.
- Know what to do if you unexpectedly come into contact with your trigger. Your allergist can help you make a detailed plan for emergency care.
- If your allergist has prescribed emergency epinephrine (EpiPen), carry it with you at all times.
- Teach your family and friends how to help you if you begin to have an anaphylaxis attack.