(an occasional series by Dr. Pedersen about her experiences with allergy in her family)

Prior to becoming a mom, I was pretty sure that I would be calm, cool, and collected about my kids’ health. After all, I am a board-certified pediatrician and allergist. So, when my picky son (we will call him Mini P) was 9 months old and FINALLY ate a few bites of eggs and then refused to eat any more, I thought it was no big deal. When he got fussier and fussier over the next few minutes and just wanted to be held, I thought he was tired from a long day at daycare. When my husband looked at him and said, “he looks blotchy, and is he itching his ear?” I brushed him off. When Mini P refused his bottle, I figured he was overstimulated and brought him to his room to calm him down. When, as I was changing him into his pajamas, he began to projectile vomit multiple times, I finally realized what was going on.

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Due to the COVID19 pandemic, people are trying to avoid going the Emergency Room unless it is absolutely necessary. New guidelines discuss whether it is absolutely necessary to go to the emergency room after an allergic reaction.

The treatment for severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) remains prompt use of injectable epinephrine (EpiPen, Auvi-Q, and generic epinephrine injectors). Typically, we recommend that after using epinephrine for an allergic reaction, you call 911 and go to the ER to get observed. I always try to explain that it is not the injection of the medication that requires the emergency room visit, but the allergic reaction itself. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening event. One dose of epinephrine, given promptly, usually will resolve the symptoms. However, sometimes as the epinephrine wears off, the allergic reaction can return, and this is the reason for going to the ER.

Knowing that people are hesitant to potentially expose themselves to coronavirus, and that they do not want to over burden the healthcare system, new recommendations for the use of epinephrine in anaphylaxis have been developed for use during the pandemic.

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