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Allergic Reaction (cont.)

Are There Home Remedies for Allergic Reactions?

Patient Comments

Avoid triggers of allergic reactions. If people know they have an allergic reaction to peanuts, for example, they should not eat them and should go out of their way to avoid foods prepared with or around peanuts (see Food Allergy).

Self-care at home is not enough in severe reactions. A severe reaction is a medical emergency.

  • Do not attempt to treat or "wait out" severe reactions at home. Go immediately to a hospital emergency department.
  • Call an ambulance for emergency medical transport.
  • Use an epinephrine auto-injector (Epi-Pen, Auvi-Q) if one has been prescribed by a doctor due to previous allergic reactions (see "prevention" below).

Slight reactions with mild symptoms usually respond to nonprescription allergy medications.

  • Oral antihistamines
    • Loratadine (Claritin or Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra) are nonsedating antihistamines that can be taken over the long term.
    • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can also be taken but may make someone too drowsy to drive or operate machinery safely. It can affect concentration and interfere with children's learning in school. These medications should be taken as directed for only a few days.
  • Nasal antihistamines
    • Azelastine (Astelin or Astepro) and olopatadine (Patanase) are prescription antihistamine nasal sprays used to relieve nasal symptoms of seasonal allergies. These medications usually cause less drowsiness than oral antihistamines but may still make some people drowsy.
  • For rashes or skin irritations, an anti-inflammatory steroid cream such as hydrocortisone can be used.
  • Allergy eyedrops may be used when symptoms involve itchy or watery eyes or puffy eyelids.
    • Antihistamine eyedrops: emedastine difumarate (Emadine), levocabastine (Livostin), azelastine hydrochloride (Optivar)
    • Anti-inflammatory eye drops: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs such as ketorolac (Acular/Acuvail) and corticosteroids such as loteprednol (Alrex, Lotemax)
    • Mast cell stabilizers: over-the-counter versions include Claritin Eye and Refresh Eye Itch Relief. Prescription mast cell stabilizer eyedrops include pemirolast potassium (Alamast), nedocromil sodium (Alocril), lodoxamide (Alomide), and cromolyn (Crolom).
    • Decongestant eyedrops are often available over the counter, including Clear Eyes, Refresh, and Visine.
    • Combination antihistamine/mast cell stabilizer eyedrops include epinastine (Elestat), olopatadine hydrochloride (Patanol/Pataday), and ketotifen (Zaditor, Alaway).

For small, localized skin reactions, use a cold, wet cloth or ice for relief. One option is to apply a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel as an ice pack.

Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Allergic Reaction:

Allergic Reaction - Drug Allergy

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Allergic Reaction - Testing

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Allergic Reaction - Experience

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Allergic Reaction - Home Remedies

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Allergic Reaction - Symptoms

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Allergic Reaction - Treatment

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