When we take medication, the goal is to, of course, make you feel better, and fight whatever it is that is plaguing you. We don’t take medication on the assumption that it will actually leave us feeling worse, but that’s exactly what can happen if you have an allergy to the drugs you’ve taken. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never suffered from an allergy before, it can happen at any time, which is why it’s wise to know the symptoms to watch for, and what sort of drug allergy treatments are available to you.
Symptoms to Watch For
It’s very important to note that the severity of the allergy symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. As well, just because you have reacted one way to an allergy in the past, doesn’t mean your symptoms will be the same with a different medication. This is exactly why it’s important to be aware of any and all symptoms that can arise.
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Watery eyes that may also be itchy
- A shortness of breath
- A new skin rash or hives
- Itchy skin
- Swelling of the face or the tongue
- A sudden fever
- A runny nose
- Fainting or unconsciousness
- Joint and muscle aches
As for when these reactions will occur, it’s usually within an hour of taking the medication. In rare cases, it can take a few hours, days, or even a few weeks before the reaction hits. This can obviously make it harder to figure out that the medication was to blame.
More Serious Reactions
While the above symptoms are certainly worth taking note of and reacting to, there is a more severe reaction that can occur. Anaphylaxis refers to a drug allergy reaction that is so severe it can be life-threatening.
The reaction attacks the body in all kinds of ways including a drop in blood pressure, seizures, dizziness, a rapid pulse, loss of consciousness, nausea or cramps in the abdominal area, vomiting, diarrhea, and tightening of the airways.
What to Do if You Have a Reaction
The treatment that you seek really depends on the reaction that you have to the drug. The first step is to avoid the drug to start with, which means a drug allergy test may need to be performed. The next step is to take an antihistamine, as this can usually help to manage the symptoms. If the reaction gets worse, or is severe to start with (such as with anaphylaxis), then you will need to seek medical care immediately. A drug allergy really isn’t something you want to take lightly.
It Pays to Be Prepared
Educating yourself on what a drug allergy would look/feel like, and what you should do in the case you suffer from a reaction could end up being life-saving. Remember, allergies can develop at any time, so just because you’ve been fine in the past doesn’t mean that will always be the case.