Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Severe Allergic Reaction (Anaphylactic Reaction)
DESCRIPTION OF ANAPHYLACTIC REACTION
An anaphylactic reaction is an immediate, severe allergic
reaction to a bee sting, drug, food, or other item. The
- wheezing, croupy cough, or difficulty breathing
- tightness in the chest or throat
- dizziness or passing out
- widespread hives, swelling, or itching (If these symptoms
occur without the symptoms listed above, your child is
probably not having an anaphylactic reaction. However,
hives, swelling, or itching often occur with other
serious symptoms when a child has a severe allergic
- a previous severe allergic reaction to the same item.
FIRST AID FOR A SUSPECTED ANAPHYLACTIC REACTION
- Call 911 IMMEDIATELY.
Call the rescue squad (911) if your child is having
difficulty breathing or passes out. Have your child lie
down with the feet elevated to prevent shock.
If you have an anaphylactic kit (Epi-Pen or Ana-Kit),
give an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline)
immediately. Epinephrine can save the life of your
child. If in doubt, give it. Inject it into the
subcutaneous (fat) layer of the outer part of the upper
If you have Benadryl at home, give it. If not, see
whether you have another antihistamine or cold
medication containing antihistamine. If you do, give
one dose immediately in addition to epinephrine.
- Bee sting treatment
If a stinger is left in the skin, remove it. Do this by
scraping the stinger off with a knife blade or credit
card rather than by squeezing it. Then apply an ice
cube to the site or a cotton ball soaked in a solution
of meat tenderizer and water.
Children with anaphylactic reactions need to be evaluated by
an allergist. Since the reactions can be fatal, you should
keep emergency kits containing epinephrine at home and in
the glove compartment of your car (epinephrine is available
by prescription only).
Also, your child should have a medical identification
necklace or bracelet that states the insect, drug, or food
allergy. Some ID necklaces and bracelets can be found in