Signs Of A Severe Allergic Reaction And When To Seek Treatment

Posted on: 20 February 2015

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, over 50 million people in the U.S. have some form of allergy or allergic response to certain stimuli. If you've been diagnosed with an allergy, it can be a very scary situation to think about facing. Whether you get stung by a bee or you ingest something that has triggered an allergic response, here are some signs to watch for if you feel you're experiencing an allergic reaction.

Skin Reaction

One of the initial telltale signs that your body is reacting to something foreign in the bloodstream is through your skin. If you have a bee sting, the skin area will generally become inflamed and painful. If it escalates into a serious allergic reaction, the swelling will become severe. A painful red area that becomes swollen should immediately be addressed by a medical professional. Other allergic responses to food or being exposed to a substance your body dislikes can also lead to skin changes, including hives or itchy welts on areas of your body. This occurs when histamine is released into the bloodstream in order to fight off the foreign substance because your body feels it's being invaded.

Respiratory Distress

If you digest a certain food that you are allergic to such as shellfish, it may begin to affect your respiratory system. This is a serious and life threatening event that is referred to as anaphylactic shock. The airways in your mouth, throat and chest can tighten and constrict—limiting airflow. This can lead to a reduction in oxygen levels and cause you to become weak or pass out. Call 911 immediately for assistance.


Eating a food that your body creates an allergic response to can lead to stomach pain and discomfort. This can be challenging for some people because it can be hard to pinpoint certain food allergies. A qualified allergist who specializes in food allergies may ask you to keep a food journal, documenting your daily food intake. This, in conjunction with blood work can help decide what medical treatment is best for you.


An allergic response can also mimic other life-threatening conditions including a heart attack. A rapid pulse along with difficulty breathing could be the result of being exposed to a specific allergen. Nausea and chest pain may also be present. A qualified medical professional is the only person who can properly decide the best treatment for your current condition.

If you have a history of an allergic reaction, your doctor may recommend that you carry an EpiPen with you at all times. This is a type of pen that instantly delivers epinephrine into your bloodstream. This helps reduce swelling and relaxes your airways, making breathing easier. Visiting your local allergy clinic will help you and your doctor establish a treatment plan that will help give you the medications and tools to cope with an allergic response. To learn more about allergies, visit Allergy Partners of the Midlands