Allergy is a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide. The body has a defense mechanism—the immune system— against substances that threaten your health. When your body comes in contact with allergens, it may overreac, explaining the allergic reaction.
Unfortunately, allergic reactions hurt your health. For instance, allergies can cause a life-threatening response like anaphylaxis associated with skin rash, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and loss of consciousness.
Understanding the cause, risk factors, and treatment of allergic reactions is crucial in managing the symptoms. If you’re looking to manage your allergic reactions, visiting an urgent care facility can give you quick and long-term relief from your problem.
Here’s what you need to know.
Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction and When to Seek Urgent Care
Allergic symptoms depend on the substance involved; however, they mainly affect nasal passages, sinuses, airways, skin, and the digestive system. The symptoms range from mild to severe and can sometimes trigger life-threatening symptoms.
Here’s a breakdown of symptoms based on the substance involved:
- Food allergy: Food allergy is a dangerous reaction after ingesting certain foods. The symptoms of a food allergy may include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, hives, rashes, ringing in the mouth, and swelling of lips, face, tongue, or throat.
- Seasonal Allergy/ Hay Fever: Seasonal allergies can occur at certain times of the year due to common triggers such as pollen, animal dander, or certain foods. People with seasonal allergies exhibit symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery or itchy eyes. They may also experience nasal congestion, loss of smell, stuffy nose, and post-nasal drip.
- Drug Allergy: Drug allergy is an adverse immune reaction to a specific medication. Drug allergy symptoms include fever, itching, hives, rashes, wheezing, and itchy skin. The common drugs that cause allergy include aspirin, antibiotics, chemotherapy, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Insect sting allergy: You can get a sting allergy if wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and honey bees accidentally prick you. Sting allergy symptoms include pain, redness, hives, itching, flushing, swelling, and redness.
A point to note: Some allergies, including food and insects, can trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition with symptoms such as skin rash, weak pulse, nausea, vomiting, extreme shortness of breath, and a drop in blood pressure.
When to Seek Urgent Care
If you suspect symptoms are allergic-related, it’s time to seek help from an urgent care center. Usually, non-prescription medication doesn’t provide enough relief from your symptoms. If you have a severe allergic reaction, call your local urgent care for immediate help or evacuation.
Understanding the Treatment Options for Allergic Reactions at Urgent Care
A physician will conduct three steps as follows to initiate a treatment plan:
- Ask a few questions about your signs and symptoms
- Examine your body
- Note down a timeline of symptoms and possible triggers.
Your doctor may recommend the following tests for a better understanding of the allergy:
- Blood test: The doctor may send you to the laboratory for immunoCAP testing to assess allergy-causing antibodies in the blood. A physician may request other blood tests, such as a radioallergosorbent test (RAST) or Specific IgE (sIgE) blood, to rule out all possibilities.
- Skin test: The doctor may prick your skin with proteins found in common allergies to test your reaction. If you’re allergic, the skin will develop hives(bumps). It helps identify common allergies like mold, dander, pollen, dust mites, and food.
Subsequently, an urgent care center physician may recommend the following treatment options.
A physician can recommend medications to ease your symptoms and minimize the reaction from your immune system. For instance, antihistamines reduce or halt a drug’s allergic reaction.
A doctor can prescribe immunotherapy if you have a severe allergic reaction or allergy unresponsive to other treatment forms. The primary forms of immunotherapy include allergy shots, sublingual therapy tablets, and medications such as decongestants.
If you have a severe allergy, your physician may recommend always carrying an epinephrine shot to calm the symptoms before you get treatment.
The Benefits of Visiting an Urgent Care Center for an Allergic Reaction
Many Americans have realized the benefits of urgent care centers, which explains their popularity and growth nationwide.
Here’s why it’s a good idea to visit an urgent care center:
- An Urgent Care Center Saves You Money: Unlike emergency centers, urgent care facilities are affordable. Generally, urgent care centers have fewer overheads and fixed costs, which explains their reasonable pricing.
- Shorter Wait Times: Allergies require timely treatment to keep the symptoms in check. In an urgent care center, you can see a doctor within 20 minutes after walking in, unlike emergency centers, where you can wait up to an hour before a doctor attends to you.
- You Don’t Need an Appointment: When allergic symptoms are flaring up, it can be frustrating if a facility requires you to seek an appointment. Fortunately, urgent care centers allow patients to walk in anytime without notice.
- Wide Range of Services: An urgent care has trained and certified physicians capable of treating various ailments. In addition to allergy and asthma attacks, urgent care centers can treat sprains, fractures, nausea, ear infections, sore throat, and pneumonia, among other conditions.
How to Prepare for Your Visit
It’s recommendable to see a physician if you have allergic symptoms.
Here are a few ways to prepare for an enhanced outcome of your visit:
- List your symptoms and any other signs unrelated to your allergy.
- Take note of when the symptoms began
- Find out your family’s history of allergies and asthma
- Note down the current medications, including vitamins and supplements
- Ask your physicians beforehand to understand which medications you should stop taking.
Get Quick Relief For Allergic Reactions at Newport Urgent Care
If you or a loved one has constant trouble with allergies, it’s essential to understand your options in an emergency. Urgent care centers are accessible, have shorter wait times, and are open for extended hours compared to your doctor’s office.
At Newport Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine, we have highly qualified and board-certified physicians ready to treat your allergy.