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Allergic Reaction (cont.)

Is Follow-up Needed After an Allergic Reaction?

Allergic reactions are sometimes unpredictable.

  • Always watch for a return of symptoms as medications wear off or exposure to an allergen trigger continues.
  • Return of symptoms may be sudden and severe.
  • Anticipate a possible return of the reaction and a need to return to the doctor's office or emergency department.

Use all medications only as instructed or as prescribed.

  • Therapy to suppress an allergic reaction may involve long-acting antihistamines and other anti-allergy medications in combination to suppress the body's immune response.
  • Severe cases may require a course of steroid treatment lasting as long as four weeks.

Is It Possible to Prevent Allergic Reactions?

Most people learn to recognize their allergy triggers; they also learn how to avoid them.

An allergy specialist (allergist) may be able to help identify someone's triggers. Several different types of allergy tests are used to identify triggers.

  • Skin testing is the most widely used and the most helpful. There are several different methods, but all involve exposing the skin to small amounts of various substances and observing the reactions over time.
  • Blood tests (radioallergosorbent test or RAST) generally identify IgE antibodies to specific antigens.
  • Other tests involve eliminating certain allergens from the environment and then reintroducing them to see if a reaction occurs.

People with a history of serious or anaphylactic reactions may be prescribed an auto-injector, sometimes called a bee-sting kit. This contains a premeasured dose of epinephrine (EpiPen and Auvi-Q are some brand names). They carry this with them and inject themselves with medication immediately if they are exposed to a substance that causes them to have a severe allergic reaction.

There is some evidence that breastfed infants are less likely to have allergies than bottle-fed infants.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/12/2016

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