Advice on Dealing With an Allergic Reaction:
Although I had my first anaphylactic reaction at six years old, I remember it just like yesterday. I went out for pizza with family friends. By the time I finished my slice of pizza, my throat was itching and hives were forming on every visible spot of my body. At this time, I didn’t know about my allergies to sheep’s and goat’s milk, and I only had an allergy to tree nuts. In an attempt to stay calm, I vividly remember telling myself that these symptoms were nothing and it would subside in a few minutes. I was fine (or at least I hoped) and was in denial. The incident ended with me being rushed to the ER and then transferred by ambulance to a children’s specialty ER because my reaction worsened and rebounded.
A few months later, I suffered another allergic reaction. However, this time it was different. I understood what was happening and immediately told my parents. We moved quickly and slowed the reaction down. As a result, I spent just a few hours in the hospital. These experiences (along with many others) provide insights and some lessons I would like to share.
Never Be In Denial:
One critical thing I learned and want to stress is to never be in denial of your allergic reaction. When I had my first allergic reaction at six, I tried to ‘will’ it away and did not fully comprehend allergies and reactions. However, I knew what an anaphylactic reaction was and at that time I was trying to force the reaction away from myself (Remember I was a 6 year old kid). But I was having a serious reaction and because of my hesitation, the reaction intensified and was more dangerous.
Following that, I had numerous more allergic reactions. and each time I hoped it was nothing, but it turned out to be a big something! These incidents taught me the importance of alerting someone quickly. The truth is, the only person who knows how you are feeling is yourself. As soon as you start having a reaction, be honest with yourself along with your friends and parents. If you do not let them know, your situation will only worsen. Advocate for yourself instead of trying to play it off as nothing.
Acting fast, and seeking immediate help is critical in determining the duration, severity, and outcome of an allergic reaction. Ten minutes can make a huge difference. Even if it’s the slightest abnormality, alert someone, get help, and take action as quickly as possible. Even if it turns out to be nothing, the phrase “better safe than sorry” always applies to those with allergies.
My next piece of advice is to adhere to your allergy protocol, and if necessary, rush to the hospital as quickly as possible. If you are having an allergic reaction, it is imperative to take action immediately, especially if it’s an anaphylactic reaction, and do not hesitate or delay. Allergic reactions are scary for everyone involved: the child, parent, caregiver, and friends. But fear, emotions, and nerves from the reaction should not delay your response time and departure for the hospital. The hospital has all the necessary medication and protocols in place to tame your symptoms and make you feel better immediately. Trust me, I know from experience.