October 22 is National Nut Day, and while you may enjoy a mixed nut snack or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an estimated 4% of the U.S. population have a food allergy, including nut allergies. For those 13 million Americans with food allergies, they must take precautions to avoid coming in contact with specific foods as allergies can become dangerous and even deadly very quickly.
For mild reactions, common symptoms include digestive problems, hives, flushing or itching. These symptoms should be treated by a doctor but may not need emergency medical care. However, every three minutes, a food allergy sends someone to the emergency room due to anaphylaxis, which can include the tightening or closing of the airway, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.
“Be very respectful of food allergy symptoms, including any tongue, throat or facial swelling, problems swallowing, breathing difficulties like wheezing, multiple episodes of vomiting, or significant dizziness or faintness,” says Dr. Brian Aldred, medical director at Five Star ER in Round Rock. “These symptoms can come very quickly after ingestion of foods such as nuts. You should seek immediate emergency medical care for the above symptoms or call 911 if the symptoms quickly progress.”
In the most serious of cases, a person who has been exposed to an allergy may enter anaphylactic shock. This occurs when there is not enough blood flowing to critical organs during an allergic reaction. If you ever see someone who is having a severe allergic reaction, take these steps to help them:
- Know the symptoms of anaphylaxis!
Along with the symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to know other signs of anaphylaxis and that only a few symptoms may be present. The severity of symptoms can change quickly, and because some symptoms are life threatening the patient may not be able to tell you they are having an allergic reaction. You can find a list of anaphylaxis symptoms here.
- Act Fast
Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, and referred to by the brand name of EpiPen, is the only effective treatment once someone is in anaphylaxis. If someone is in anaphylaxis you will need to inject them with epinephrine, and more than one dose may need to be given. Antihistamines and asthma inhalers are not effective treatments for anaphylaxis.
- Seek Emergency Medical Care
If the person is unconscious or has stopped breathing, call 9-1-1 immediately after giving epinephrine. All people who are having an allergic reaction should seek immediate medical care. Five Star ER has highly trained, board certified doctors and nurses on staff who can treat an allergic reaction 24/7. You will receive the care you’d expect from a traditional emergency room, but without the wait. With convenient locations throughout the Austin area, located along main highways, you can be seen by a doctor within minutes.
Emergencies happen. And when they do, you need the best care — FAST. That’s why when you visit Five Star ER we will take care of you from the moment you arrive with speed, compassion and quality care. Click here to find the Five Star ER location nearest you.
– – – – – – – – – –
About Five Star ER
Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.
Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes.
This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.