Naming all of the symptoms of an allergic reaction on paper can help people, especially the non-allergic, remember them.
If you have allergies, however, you know the feeling you get when something isn’t right. Whether it’s a visible symptom on your skin, or pain and/or constriction on the inside, you know something bad is happening. And your mind becomes focused on it.
A serious allergic reaction can start within minutes of coming into contact with an allergy trigger—or hours after the fact. They may include any or all of these symptoms. Know how to spot the signs and remember them by this handy acronym: Think “FAST.”
It’s important to note that these symptoms happen independently of each other and may be different from one reaction to the next.
Knowing how these symptoms feel is important. We’ve asked members of our youth panel to describe what they felt in these situations.
“It really felt like my world was collapsing in the pit of my stomach.”
“Metallic taste in my mouth.”
“I knew something was very wrong and it took me a few seconds to piece together the symptoms and conclude that I was actually having an allergic reaction.”
“It started with a tingling sensation on my tongue and lips that quickly moved to tightness throughout my mouth and throat. It all happened so quickly.”
Most importantly, when you feel any of these symptoms, and suspect it might be an allergic reaction, seek help immediately and do not isolate yourself. Be prepared to treat your reaction. You will learn more about this in the next chapter.
Quick Tip – A biphasic reaction is when the symptoms of an allergic reaction reappear after the initial treatment. This is why it’s so important to get to the hospital to make sure the reaction is completely gone.