Food allergies can occur in people of all ages, and from a broad variety of foods. Some of the most common offenders are nuts, wheat, fish, and soy. Food allergies aren’t always apparent, and they can come up seemingly out of nowhere, especially in young children.
Mayer Clinic in Fairbanks, AK, has been one of the area’s most trusted doctors since 2006. Their team explains that food allergies are complex. Although there’s no such thing as mild food allergies, symptoms can range from mild to severe. Here’s their guide on how to determine if an allergic reaction is an emergency, or if you should call your doctor.
When It’s an Emergency
While most allergy symptoms don’t constitute an emergency, there are exceptions Call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately if you have hives, swollen lips or tongue, or are struggling to breathe. You should also call if you lose consciousness after eating or you have two or more of symptoms including hives, swollen lips, low blood pressure, or abdominal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. These severe symptoms may indicate anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening reaction sometimes triggered by allergens.
When to Call a Doctor
In other instances, you’ll have time to wait for a doctor rather than going to the hospital or receiving emergency care. Call your general practitioner if your lips or tongue are swollen after eating, if you have difficulty breathing, or if you’ve got hives over a large area of the body that appear soon after eating. Also, call a pediatrician if your child has severe difficulty with feedings, such as bloody diarrhea, vomiting, or crying after meals, or digestive symptoms severe enough to cause signs of dehydration, such as diarrhea or vomiting. Although not an emergency, these symptoms may indicate a severe food allergy that could develop into anaphylaxis if not addressed.
If you know you have a food allergy, it’s important to keep an epinephrine pen on hand at all times in case of an allergic reaction. When you experience symptoms, give yourself a shot before calling a doctor or emergency response. If the shot doesn’t work, or if severe symptoms persist, follow the guidelines above to determine what to do.
If you’re a Fairbanks resident in need of family medicine or a primary care doctor, trust the caring professionals at Mayer Clinic. Call (907) 457-5050 to make an appointment. Or, visit the website to learn more about this family medical clinic.