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Allergic reactions can be triggered by foods, medications, insect stings, pollen, or other substances.  Although most allergic reactions aren’t serious, severe reactions can be life-threatening and can require immediate medical attention.

Avoid substances that are known to trigger an allergic reaction in the child.  Keep an oral antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl or Claritin) available.  If the child has a severe allergy, be sure that doctor prescribed injectable epinephrine (Twinject or Epipen) is kept with or near the child at all times, and that you, caretakers, and the child (if old enough) know how to use it

Signs and Symptoms:

Mild Reaction:

  • Itchiness
  • Mild skin redness or swelling
  • Stuffy, runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Red bumps (hives) that occur anywhere on the body

Severe Reaction:

  • Swelling of the face or mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting
  • Dizziness or fainting

What to do:

  1. Contact a doctor if a child has an allergic reaction that is more than mild or the reaction concerns you.
  2. If the child has symptoms of a mild reaction, give an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl or Claritin.
  3. If the child has symptoms of a severe allergic reaction and you have injectable epinephrine, immediately use it as directed and call for emergency help.

Seek emergency medical care if the child:

  • Has any symptoms of a severe allergic reaction
  • Was exposed to a food or substance that has triggered a severe reaction in the past.
  • Was given injectable epinephrine.