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Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. If you have had a severe allergic
reaction in the past, you know how frightening it can be. Symptoms of breathing
problems, itching, and swelling can come on quickly and become
life-threatening. Giving yourself an epinephrine shot can slow down or stop an
allergic reaction. That's why it is important to have epinephrine with you at all times and to know the right way to use it:
it could save your life someday.
The shot does not replace the need to be seen
by a doctor. After giving yourself a shot, seek emergency care. Symptoms of a
severe allergic reaction can return or get worse after an epinephrine
You should feel the effects of the medicine almost right
away. These may include a rapid heartbeat and nervousness as well as improved
breathing. The benefits of the shot usually last 10 to 20 minutes.
In some severe cases, you may need to give a second shot. Your doctor
will explain when a second shot is needed. Make sure you understand, and ask
questions if you are not sure. Too much epinephrine can cause serious side
effects, such as trouble breathing.
November 11, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
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