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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:14 am
Posts: 17
Location: Vancouver, BC
I have not had a severe reaction in close to 10 years. The last few times I had bad reactions I didn't know they could be dangerous and (at the time) didn't even carry an EpiPen. I've since started carrying an EpiPen, but had an allergist (despite two positive skin prick tests and my description of symptoms) say I didn't need one. I insisted on one anyway and my GP agreed so prescribed one.

Last night I accidentally ate a small piece of a potato chip. In the past few years, all my reactions have just been an itchy mouth, my throat feeling weird, maybe getting a bit wheezy, and if it's bad my entire face will get red and itchy.

Last night's reaction was really bad and I was at home alone at the time. (Basically I had brought home tortilla chips from an event, and didn't realize that someone dumped potato chips into the same container ...) It's the first time I have seriously considered using my EpiPen or calling 911 for a reaction. Within about 30 minutes the following happened in approximately this order:

* Mouth, lips and throat got really itchy
* My throat and swallowing felt weird
* Entire face and head got really itchy
* Hands, armpits, and some other areas of my body got really itchy
* Face started to swell up, including my ears
* My stomach was feeling upset/sick
* My face, scalp, neck, back, and chest broke out in hives

My heart was also racing and I felt like I was wheezing a bit, but I'm not sure how much of this was from the reaction and how much was from me pacing around with the phone debating whether to call 911. I ended up taking two Benadryl and using my inhaler and within a couple of hours things had started to get better. But I called a friend of mine with food allergies as soon as I was feeling better and her first question (after asking three times if my breathing was okay) was to ask why I hadn't used my EpiPen.

I have never used an EpiPen before and last night didn't want to cause a scene. But, in hindsight I think I should have gone to the hospital just to be safe. I'm wondering what criteria people have for using an EpiPen and/or calling 911 for a reaction versus just taking Benadryl and waiting it out?

_________________
Allergic to potatoes; eosinophilic esophagitis
Allergic to trees, grasses, weeds, cats and dogs, dust and dust mites, feathers, molds
Outgrew allergy to cold (cold urticaria)
Asthma; mild eczema; Type 1 diabetes


Last edited by kindletheflame on Mon May 20, 2013 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 641
Location: AB, Canada
How frightening! I'm so sorry you had a reaction. I think using the epipen would have been a good idea, ditto calling 911. Did you tell anyone with you what had happened? I'm so glad you're ok.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 11:06 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:14 am
Posts: 17
Location: Vancouver, BC
The first person I told was my friend who has allergies (I wanted someone who understood), but that was once I was sure things weren't getting worse (over an hour into the reaction). I have NO idea what I was thinking at the time, everything I did or didn't do seems so unsafe now.

I told my mom about it today and she said I should have called her, even though she lives across the city. At least then someone else would know what was happening (and probably would have told me to go to the hospital).

If I ever have a reaction like that again I would definitely call 911, especially if I'm alone!

_________________
Allergic to potatoes; eosinophilic esophagitis
Allergic to trees, grasses, weeds, cats and dogs, dust and dust mites, feathers, molds
Outgrew allergy to cold (cold urticaria)
Asthma; mild eczema; Type 1 diabetes


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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 11:11 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
kindletheflame wrote:
I have never used an EpiPen before and last night didn't want to cause a scene. But, in hindsight I think I should have gone to the hospital just to be safe. I'm wondering what criteria people have for using an EpiPen and/or calling 911 for a reaction versus just taking Benadryl and waiting it out?


This "not wanting to cause a scene" honestly seems to be one of the big reasons why people don't use epinephrine. Good to see that you are okay and that you now realize, with hindsight, that you should have called 911. In my experience, when I was trying to call my husband during my child's anaphylaxis was when I should have been calling 911!

If my daughter or I had the throat swelling you mentioned we would have used epinephrine. Or just with two other symptoms such as hives and stomach pains at the same time, epinephrine would have been warranted. My last serious reaction was intense abdominal pain that came on while still at the table and an allergist told me later that since it came on so fast I should have epinephrine (I didn't have it prescribed for me yet but my daughter had hers).

You are very fortunate that your anaphylaxis reaction did not progress more as by that point the epinephrine may not have worked.

Our Allergists have a mantra: Benadryl does not stop anaphylaxis! It is fine for hives but not for throat swelling or abdominal pain etc.

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 405
walooet wrote:
My last serious reaction was intense abdominal pain that came on while still at the table and an allergist told me later that since it came on so fast I should have epinephrine (I didn't have it prescribed for me yet but my daughter had hers).


Interesting comment. I get this from traces of traces, forgetting to wash hands - the kind of curl up and want to die pain? I never thought it would be Epi-worthy because it's GI and a symptom not even on the grading chart. Huh. I'll have to ask about that at my next appointment. Sorry for getting off track - I just found that comment really stuck out at me.

Otherwise, back on topic, kindletheflame - that definitely sounds like an EpiPen situation to me. As soon as throat itchiness or tingling happens, your airways are considered compromised and you need epinephrine immediately, regardless of other symptoms. I can relate to the waiting and seeing, I'm guilty of it myself. That first bad reaction will stick with you forever and hopefully help you be more prepared next time. I think we learn a lot from our mistakes. Glad that you are okay.

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anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
I agree with walooet and spacecanada! Think of the scene you'd cause if you died!

Glad you didn't. :huggy

1. You were prescribed epinephrine so you're considered "at risk"
2. You ingested a known allergen
3. Hives + face swelling + wheezing + stomache upset = more than one system.
Next time, use your auto injector and call 911.
http://www.allergysafecommunities.ca/signs-symptoms/

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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