Words From A Nurse Practitioner

By Heather Legg

I recently had an opportunity to talk about allergies with a nurse practitioner and found what she had to say informative and soothing. I have written about my allergiest experience from years ago and still think that was just awful. He was adamant that anytime there is the slightest indication of a reaction, use the Epipen. Whether it’s a hive a mouth itch, anything. I liked what the nurse practitioner had to say.

She assured me that it will be clear when an Epipen should be utilized. It’s not necessary in all cases, for instance if someone’s mouth is itchy but there are no indicators of hampered breathing. Heck, my mouth itches when I eat too much pineapple, but I’ve never had trouble breathing. If there is excessive coughing or gasping, that means trouble breathing, so does excessive drooling, a symptom I wasn’t aware of. I guess drooling makes sense, if you can’t swallow, you can’t breathe.

Benadryl is recommended. If itchiness or hives occur, give Benadryl and continue it for a couple of days around the clock. The allergen can still be in the system and it’s possible for symptoms to manifest a day or two later after it is ingested. For instance, as the allergen is digested, stomach problems can occur, like nausea or vomiting, which could be hours or days later.

Indigestion is possible, too. An allergen is something your body doesn’t agree with, so symptoms like burping and acid reflux can occur. Again, the danger signs to look for are breathing problems or a racing heart. Emergency room visits don’t hurt if you are unsure. But if breathing is compromised, don’t wait to use the Epipen first, then visit the ER.

I found her demeanor so different than the allergist’s. She was also an emergency room practitioner and had seen quite a few allergic reactions. During her talk it was clear she knew from experience what she was talking about. She was willing to look at the gray areas, the individual, rather than the simple, but frightening black and white. As I’ve said a million times before, allergies are confusing. We don’t always know what to do but maybe this will help you make a clear headed decision on treatment if you or your child does have a reaction, whether it is mild or severe.

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