Allergies and Allergic reactions can be moderate or severe.  Severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening. Call 911 if a person has had severe allergic reactions in the past, or

  • Is developing hives or swelling on the face and neck,
  • has a rapid pulse along with a profound feeling of anxiety,
  • Experiences tightness in the chest area along with trouble breathing.

See a doctor or get to an emergency room immediately if you notice other dangerous signs of an allergic reaction such as:

  • a fast-spreading red or blistered area on the skin, or skin that peels off without blistering
  • Raw areas of flesh that appear scalded
  • Spreading of the condition to areas around the eyes, mouth, or genitals

First Aid for mild allergic reactions starts with treatment for itchiness and rash:

  • Adults can take an over-the-counter antihistamine to relieve the discomfort of itching, provide they are not allergic to any of the ingredients.  Consult a doctor before giving an antihistamine to a child.
  • Take cool showers using only soaps and detergents that are made for sensitive skin. Cool compresses or Calamine lotion can be applied for additional relief, and wearing lightweight clothing that is loose-fitting will help prevent additional irritation to the rash area.

Certain medications have been known to cause allergic reactions.  If you believe an allergic reaction has been triggered by a new medication, stop taking the medication and inform your doctor right away.  Ask your doctor about alternative medicines and which medications to avoid in the future.