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Allergic reactions are sensitivities to substances, called allergens, that are contacted through the skin, inhaled into the lungs, swallowed, or injected.
Common allergens include:
- Animal dander
- Bee stings or stings from other insects
- Foods, especially nuts, fish, and shellfish
- Insect bites
Common symptoms of a mild allergic reaction include:
- Hives (especially over the neck and face)
- Nasal congestion
- Watery, red eyes
Symptoms of a moderate or severe reaction include:
- Cramps or pain in the abdomen
- Chest discomfort or tightness
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fear or feeling of apprehension or anxiety
- Flushing or redness of the face
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling of the face, eyes, or tongue
- Avoid triggers such as foods and medications that have caused an allergic reaction, even a mild one, in the past. This includes asking detailed questions about ingredients when you are eating away from home. Also carefully examine ingredient labels.
- If you have a child who is allergic to certain foods, introduce one new food at a time in small amounts so you can recognize an allergic reaction.
- People who know that they have had serious allergic reactions should wear a medical ID tag.
- If you have a history of serious allergic reactions, carry emergency medications (such as diphenhydramine and injectable epinephrine or a bee sting kit) according to your health care providerís instructions.
- Do not use your injectable epinephrine on anyone else. They may have a condition (such as a heart problem) that could be negatively affected by this drug.