Preparing for an Allergic Reaction


by Caroline Moassessi, FAACT’s Vice President of Community Relations

A few months ago, my phone rang before 6am. I answered. My college aged son calmly explained he believed he was having an allergic reaction. While I stayed calm (on the outside), I knew he had all the tools available to safely manage the reaction, which ended well.  But, one reason I was so calm, was knowing he was prepared for this day. People with food allergies know they need to stay alert and be ready to jump into action if an allergic reaction occurs. 

Summer is the perfect time to refresh your plans for managing an anaphylactic reaction. Let’s explore a few tips for preparing for an allergic reaction. 

  • Schedule a call or visit with your allergist to discuss your family’s best practices for being prepared for an allergic reaction.
  • Print out and have your allergist review a copy of your emergency action plan.
  • Create your emergency rescue kit checklist - what items do you need to respond to an emergency?
  • Order epinephrine auto-injectors and use tools on some epinephrine auto-injector websites, apps or calendar to set expiration date reminders. Give yourself extra ordering time due to some allergist’s practice operating with limited staff.
  • Practice monthly with epinephrine auto-injector trainer devices. Make the habit easy by timing it with when you pay your cellular service bill or any other monthly payment. Visit epinephrine auto-injector manufacturer websites for how-to-use videos.
  • The emergency plan is critical. We have heard from constituents that during an emergency it is hard to sometimes remember all of the steps needed to effectively respond to an allergic reaction. Have this plan readily available with your rescue medications.
  • Your emergency plan should contain all contacts, current mediations taken, current health history, list of allergens and possibly health insurance information. 
  • Over 95% of emergency responders will look for medical ID’s during an emergency. Wearing a medical ID will aid first responders to better understand your medical background, find contacts and other critical information if you are not able to speak clearly. NOTE: FAACT has recently launched a partnership with Medic Alert Foundation. New subscribers can use FAACT’s Promo Code: FAACT20 to receive 20% off their first subscription.
  • Explore realistic options regarding how you or your loved one will carry their rescue medications. There are many fun, functional and age-appropriate epinephrine auto-injector carriers available on the internet. Ranging from cute animals or characters embroidered on wearable waist packs to leg-wearing solutions. 
  • In addition to carrying rescue medications, establish where they will be stored when at home. Do not waste precious minutes by racing around the house looking for the rescue medications. 
  • Learn the Signs and Symptoms of Anaphylaxis and feel comfortable with anaphylaxis by visiting FAACT’s Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis section. 
  • Carry rescue mediations everywhere you go and share with others where they are located in the event of an allergic reaction. 
  • Most of all, remote the stigma and treat carrying rescue medications with the same matter-of-fact attitude used to carry a purse or backpack.

These are just a few suggestions to help you reconnect with your plans for staying safe and calm during an anaphylactic reaction. Being prepared is not just for Boy Scouts!