This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) and Allergic Living magazine is one of the organizations leading the awareness charge. Today I spotted a neat new poster from the magazine that gives some easy-to-remember advice for spotting a reaction, treating it with epinephrine, and getting the patient safely to a hospital.
One of the things that struck me about the poster is that it notes that feeling faint and having a drop in blood pressure could be the only symptom of anaphylaxis. Charlie had a reaction like that once: he had some minor redness on his face and watery eyes, but because he gets redness anyway (and I’d never seen him get watery eyes), I wasn’t sure it was anaphylaxis until he started to look like he was feeling faint.
Anyway, this is great information. I’ve seen people posting online with the same question that I’ve grappled with: what is a black-and-white rule for identifying anaphylaxis? The answer is that there is no black and white rule, but knowing the symptoms will help you make the judgement call. I like that the poster reminds you to use the epinephrine injector (EpiPen or Auvi-Q, these days) even if you’re not 100% sure it’s a reaction. The word I’ve heard from multiple doctors is that getting an epi injection won’t kill (or even injure) most people, even if they’re not having an allergic reaction after all.