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When Should You Visit an Urgent Care for an Allergic Reaction?

Closeup of a young woman scratching an itch on her forearm.

Allergic reactions are one of the main reasons patients visit an urgent care center. If you are experiencing an allergic reaction and need care, you shouldn’t delay treatment or try to ride out the symptoms; instead, we encourage you to seek comprehensive diagnosis and treatment at one of PVHC’s urgent care locations to feel better sooner.

Deciding when to visit an urgent care center can be challenging for things that aren’t typically categorized as “life-threatening.” The good news is that PVHC’s urgent care centers diagnose and treat a wide variety of ailments and illnesses that don’t typically require a visit to the emergency room, including symptoms caused by an allergic reaction.

What is an allergic reaction?

In simplest terms, an allergic reaction is your immune system’s negative response to a foreign substance in the body.

Allergic reactions are common, affecting nearly 50 million people each year. They are more prevalent in people who have a family history of allergies.

Your immune system is constantly working to defend your body against things like illness and bacteria. When it encounters something abnormal, it works to get rid of the foreign body by attacking it. The immune system’s response often shows up in various symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

Allergic reactions are sensitivities to allergens that come into contact with areas of the body like the skin, nose, eyes, respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract. Allergens can be breathed into the lungs, swallowed or injected.

If you believe that you’ve come in contact with an allergen that negatively affects your body, we encourage you to seek care at an urgent care center for allergies.

What causes an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction can be caused by various allergens, including:

  • Foods (especially tree nuts, shellfish, eggs or dairy)
  • Drugs and medications
  • Animals (pet dander)
  • Latex
  • Insect bite or sting
  • Airborne allergens (dust mites, mold, pollen)

What are the most common symptoms of allergic reactions?

Allergic reactions can range from mild to life-threatening (anaphylaxis) and affect individuals differently.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itchy or swollen skin
  • Red spots on the skin
  • Irritation in the eyes, throat, nose or ears
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or mouth
  • Mouth tingling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Sneezing

More severe symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Trouble breathing, or closing of the airways
  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Swelling of the face, tongue or eyes
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • A sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness

If you or a loved one is experiencing severe symptoms due to an allergic reaction, call 9-1-1 or head to your local emergency room right away.

When should I visit an urgent care for allergies?

We understand that new or worsening symptoms after exposure to an allergen can be worrisome. If you believe you are experiencing an allergic reaction, don’t delay treatment; visit one of our urgent care centers for allergy treatment today.

No appointments are necessary; walk-in 7 days a week for prompt and compassionate care for any urgent care needs. We are here to help you feel better sooner starting today.