Be smart when it comes to spring allergies and asthma

May 25, 2018

(HealthDay)—Lots of things grow in the spring, including your risk of severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks. So people need to take preventive measures and know when to seek medical care, an emergency physician says.

"Spring tends to bring more people to the ," Dr. Paul Kivela, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in a college news release.

"Conditions like and allergies are manageable for most people but they can easily become life-threatening. Minimize your risk by limiting your exposure to known triggers, carrying your medicines with you if needed, and developing an action plan for asthma and allergic reactions with your care provider."

Each year, asthma sends more than 1.8 million people to U.S. emergency rooms, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kivela said people with asthma should go to the ER when: symptoms do not improve quickly after the use of rescue inhalers; they're straining to breathe or can't complete a sentence without pausing for breath; their lips or fingernails turn blue.

Picnics, barbecues, pool parties and other outdoor get-togethers can put some people at risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which is most often caused by a food allergy. It's estimated that a sends somebody to a U.S. emergency room every three minutes.

Insect bites and stings are another common cause of anaphylaxis.

Symptoms such as tingling, numbness or a metallic taste in the mouth may occur within minutes, but it might take up to several hours for life-threatening reactions to develop, according to Kivela.

Seek immediate care if you or someone else develops any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue, throat, nasal passages or face
  • Welts, hives, itchiness, redness on the skin, lips, eyelids or other areas of the body
  • Bluish skin, especially the lips or nail beds (or grayish in darker complexions)
  • Nausea, stomach cramping, vomiting/diarrhea
  • Heart palpitations; weak and rapid pulse; confusion, slurred speech; dizziness, a drop in blood pressure, fainting or unconsciousness.

If someone develops anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately. And while you wait for first responders to arrive: lay the person flat and elevate the feet; administer self-injectable epinephrine (such as EpiPen) if available; check for a medical tag, bracelet or necklace that may identify anaphylactic triggers, Kivela said.

Explore further: Even if severe allergic reaction is in doubt, epinephrine should be used

More information: The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on anaphylaxis.

Related Stories

Even if severe allergic reaction is in doubt, epinephrine should be used

August 6, 2015
There are times when emergency physicians can't be 100 percent sure a person is suffering from a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, and may hesitate to use epinephrine. A new article says when in doubt - administer ...

Home remedies: stung by a bee

August 11, 2017
In most cases, bee stings are just annoying, and home treatment is all that's necessary to ease the pain of bee stings. But if you're allergic to bee stings or you get stung numerous times, you may have a more-serious reaction ...

Study shows second severe allergic reaction can occur hours after first

July 7, 2015
Parents of kids with severe allergies know how scary a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is. New research offers clues as to why some kids can have a second, related reaction hours later - and what to do about it.

A potentially deadly reason to seek preventive health care

November 9, 2012
Emergency rooms are more crowded than ever, with more than 136 million people making a trip annually. According to a study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) 2012 Annual Scientific ...

Needed: an 'action plan' for kids prone to severe allergic reactions

February 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—When kids are at risk of severe allergic reactions, all their caregivers should have a written action plan and epinephrine auto-injectors readily available, according to new reports from the American Academy ...

Orange is not the new black: Just highly allergenic for one toddler

November 6, 2014
Many people don't realize allergies and asthma go hand-in-hand, and about 90 percent of kids with asthma also have allergies. Even more important, when asthma is undiagnosed or poorly controlled, children are at risk for ...

Recommended for you

How a thieving transcription factor dominates the genome

June 20, 2018
One powerful DNA-binding protein, the transcription factor PU.1, steals away other transcription factors and recruits them for its own purposes, effectively dominating gene regulation in developing immune cells, according ...

Severe stress may send immune system into overdrive

June 19, 2018
(HealthDay)—Trauma or intense stress may up your odds of developing an autoimmune disease, a new study suggests.

Composition of complex sugars in breast milk may prevent future food allergies

June 12, 2018
The unique composition of a mother's breastmilk may help to reduce food sensitization in her infant, report researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine with colleagues in Canada.

Drug may quell deadly immune response when trauma spills the contents of our cells' powerhouses

June 11, 2018
When trauma spills the contents of our cell powerhouses, it can evoke a potentially deadly immune response much like a severe bacterial infection.

Immune system does not recover despite cured hepatitis C infection

June 11, 2018
Changes to the immune system remain many years after a hepatitis C infection heals, a new study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and Hannover Medical School, Germany, shows. The findings, presented in Nature ...

Food allergies connected to children with autism spectrum disorder

June 8, 2018
A new study from the University of Iowa finds that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more than twice as likely to suffer from a food allergy than children who do not have ASD.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.