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Can Allergies Be Fatal?

The word “allergy” gets thrown around a lot, which isn’t surprising at all considering the high percentage of people who suffer from allergies every year.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), over 50 million people in the United States are affected by allergic diseases yearly. If you suffer from any form of allergy, you can visit Lifeguard Urgent Care Center’s Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic for a quick medical assessment, preventive medicine, and treatment.

Why do allergies occur?

The body’s immune system is programmed to protect the body against foreign invaders that have the potential to cause harm. To do this, the immune system creates antibodies that fight off specific germs.

In the case of people with allergies, the immune system overreacts to a foreign substance (known as an allergen), branding it as harmful when it isn’t. An allergen is a substance that is safe and harmless, but triggers an allergic reaction to people sensitive to it.

Common examples of allergens include dust, pollen, food (seafood, dairy products, crustaceans, etc.), mold, animal dander, insect stings, latex, and certain drugs (penicillin, aspirin, and ibuprofen are among the most common).

Who is at risk?

You have higher chances of having an allergy if you:

  • Have a family history of allergies
  • Have asthma
  • Are a child

Complications with allergies

Having an allergy may result in the following complications:

    • Asthma. People with allergies have higher chances of having asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease that involves the airways. Allergic asthma will cause the airway to swell, narrow, and produce mucus. This will make it hard for air to pass through the airway, leading to difficulty with breathing, alongside wheezing, and coughing.
    • Sinusitis is the swelling and inflammation of the tissues that line the sinuses.
    • Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening form of an allergic reaction. Typically, people with allergies develop localized signs and symptoms, which can be bothersome, but are generally non-fatal. If the signs and symptoms affect more than one organ system, the condition is known as anaphylaxis.

The danger of anaphylaxis

If left untreated, anaphylaxis can lead to an anaphylactic shock. This is a fatal condition characterized by nausea and vomiting, rapid and weak pulse, rashes, narrowed airways, and a sudden drop in blood pressure. This is an emergency situation that needs immediate medical treatment.

Some people have a higher risk of developing anaphylactic reactions than others. If you have asthma, allergies, or a history of anaphylaxis in the family, you are at a higher risk. Likewise, if you have experienced an anaphylactic reaction in the past, your chance of experiencing another one is increased.

It is best to seek immediate help from a qualified medical professional at Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic for an accurate diagnosis and intervention. The first course of treatment, especially for someone suffering from an anaphylactic shock, is the injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) to reduce the body’s allergic response immediately.

Living with allergies

In general, the best way to prevent allergic reactions is to avoid contact with allergens. However, some allergens, such as animal dander and pollens, cannot be entirely avoided. In these cases, you might have to resort to medications.

Addressing your allergy symptoms and finding relief can be achieved through antihistamines and decongestants. These are the most common drugs that can relieve most symptoms of an allergic reaction such as itching, runny nose, and sneezing.

Before taking any medication, consult your Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic doctor to determine which medicine suits your condition best. Taking the proper medication with the right dosage and frequency will help relieve your symptoms, while minimizing side effects.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.