Allergic reactions can be unexpected, unsettling, and sometimes downright frightening for not only those suffering the reaction but also for those around them.

In this blog, we’ll share practical advice and insights on how to navigate allergic reactions with calm and care. From recognizing symptoms to immediate actions and follow-up steps, we’re here to offer guidance and empower you with the knowledge needed in those critical moments.

Let’s dive in and ensure that when faced with an allergic reaction, you’re well-equipped to respond swiftly and effectively.

The allergen sufferer

1. Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

In the face of an allergic reaction, the initial and most crucial step is to stay calm. While it may sound easier said than done, it’s essential as anxiety can intensify symptoms. Focus on controlling your breathing—inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then, assess the severity of your reaction. If the symptoms are mild, such as hives or slight digestive discomfort, managing them at home might be possible (although we recommend that you always seek medical attention). For severe symptoms or signs of anaphylaxis (difficulty breathing, throat swelling, or a drop in blood pressure), immediate emergency services should be contacted without delay.

2. Use Your Epinephrine Auto-Injector (If Prescribed)

If you have been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector (e.g. an EpiPen) for severe allergic reactions, use it as instructed. It can reverse potentially life-threatening symptoms by constricting blood vessels and relaxing the airways. It’s not a substitute for emergency medical care so even if you use it, seek immediate medical attention.

3. Contact Someone You Trust

If you’re dining alone, contact a friend or family member who knows about your allergies. Share your location and inform them of the situation. If you have used your epinephrine auto-injector, let them know. You should also inform someone in the restaurant, like a manager or waiter, about your allergic reaction and stress the need for immediate assistance

4. If Mild Reaction: Monitor and Take Antihistamines

For mild allergic reactions like hives or mild digestive discomfort, monitor your symptoms closely. If you have antihistamines prescribed by your healthcare provider, take them according to the recommended dosage. Antihistamines can help alleviate symptoms like itching and swelling. Remember mild reactions can escalate, and because you have never had a severe reaction doesn’t exclude you from facing an increased reaction in time.

5. Seek Medical Attention

In any instance of an allergic reaction, it’s imperative to seek medical attention without hesitation. Mild reactions can escalate, and severe reactions require immediate treatment. A tragic reminder of the consequences of food allergies is the heartbreaking case of Owen Carey in 2017. Despite notifying restaurant staff about his milk allergy and receiving assurances, Owen’s decision to trust the information led to a swift and severe anaphylactic reaction. Within a mere 60 minutes, what should have been a celebratory 18th birthday turned into a life commemorated by his parents.

This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder that reactions can escalate rapidly. Even mild symptoms have the potential to intensify, and severe reactions demand immediate medical intervention. Owen’s story emphasizes the unpredictability of allergies; in his case, a seemingly innocuous chicken dish marinated in buttermilk turned fatal.

In the event of an allergic reaction, it is crucial to call your doctor or head to the nearest emergency room. This is true even if you’ve administered an epinephrine auto-injector. Seeking professional evaluation ensures that there are no lingering symptoms or complications that might pose a risk to your health.

Remember: Prevention Is Key

While this plan is essential for managing allergic reactions, the best course of action is to prevent them whenever possible. TrustDish is the only complete digital allergen management system connecting you directly to the kitchen. If avoidance is key, then TrustDish is the key holder.

It is so important to communicate your allergies clearly with restaurant staff or when placing an order through a delivery app. NEVER depend on notices like vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and dairy-free as allergen declarations. Always look for the allergens – even in your regular dining spots. Changes in ingredients can change the allergen set within a dish. What was milk-free yesterday may not be milk-free tomorrow. Read food labels diligently and ask questions about ingredients and potential cross-contamination. Being proactive in managing your allergies can significantly reduce the risk of an allergic reaction in the first place.