Study shows second severe reactions can occur hours to days after an initial allergic reaction and occurs in up to 15% of children.
We all know how scary an allergic reaction can be, especially if it occurs in a child.
New research in children shows it is even more important to be prepared to treat the initial reaction aggressively and to be prepared to treat what is known as a secondary or delayed reaction. Delayed reactions occur when the initial reaction is treated and the symptoms resolve but then return hours to days later.
A recent study looked at records of children who were seen in emergency departments for anaphylaxis (significant allergic reactions) to find out how often a second reaction occurs.
In about 75 percent of the delayed reactions, the second reaction occurred within 6 hours of the initial allergic reaction but could occur up to days later. The children more likely to have a delayed reaction usually had more severe initial reactions requiring more than one dose of epinephrine. At least half of the delayed reactions were serious enough to require another dose of epinephrine.
The take home messages: Be prepared with at least 2 doses of epinephrine if you are your child are at risk for a serious allergic reaction. Remember to use the epinephrine early. Do not wait for life threatening symptoms to occur to use epinephrine as an allergic reaction can be fatal. Don’t be afraid to give the second dose of epinephrine if symptoms are not improving or progress on the way to the emergency department. If you are not admitted to the hospital for your allergic reaction, be prepared for a secondary reaction by having more epinephrine available.