An allergic reaction occurs when a person’s immune system reacts to a foreign substance; often, that substance is harmless to most people.

These substances range from food, medications, and insect bites to cosmetics, everyday cleaning products, pollen, and pet dander.

When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn’t necessarily. When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system’s reaction can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways, or digestive system.

Signs of an allergic reaction

The first sign of an allergic reaction is usually itching, redness, or swelling of the skin that came into contact with the allergen. Other common symptoms include hives, nasal congestion, runny nose, and watery eyes.

In severe cases, anaphylaxis can occur, a life-threatening reaction affecting the whole body. Symptoms of anaphylaxis can include difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, vomiting, and dizziness or loss of consciousness.

While most allergies can’t be cured, treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms.

Getting care

If you suspect that you or someone you know experienced an allergic reaction, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is important. Furthermore, if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the signs of anaphylaxis, that is an emergency. Immediately dial 911 or get to the nearest emergency room.

Urgent care centers are an excellent resource for individuals experiencing mild to moderate allergic reactions. Since time is still of the essence, most urgent care facilities have online check-in or walk-in options to expedite your care.

By visiting an urgent care center, you can get immediate treatment for your allergy-related issues without having to make an appointment ahead of time or wait days for a response from your primary physician.

Qualified medical professionals at the clinic can diagnose and treat allergies quickly. They can provide medications to reduce the severity of the allergy symptoms and help relieve discomfort caused by the allergy attack.

An urgent care center can also advise how to prevent future allergic reactions and recommend lifestyle changes that may help reduce the risk or frequency of allergic reactions.

If necessary, urgent care providers can refer you to an allergist for further evaluation and treatment. An allergist can perform skin or blood tests to determine the cause of your allergy. They can also provide an action plan for managing your allergy, such as avoiding allergens and what to do in an emergency.


If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, it is crucial to always carry an epinephrine auto-injector with you. This small, easy-to-use device can deliver a life-saving dose of epinephrine in an emergency.

It is also a good idea to wear a medical alert bracelet or carry a card indicating your allergies and the need for epinephrine in an emergency. It is important to note that after administering an epinephrine auto-injector, you must call 911 and get to the nearest emergency room immediately.

The bottom line

Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe and can include symptoms such as itching, hives, and difficulty breathing.

If you suspect an allergic reaction is occurring, seek medical attention immediately.


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