PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
The best way to prevent anaphylaxis is to avoid substances that you know cause this severe reaction. Follow these steps:
- Wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet to indicate if you have an allergy to specific drugs or other substances.
- Alert your doctor to your drug allergies before having any medical treatment. If you receive allergy shots, always wait at least 30 minutes before leaving the clinic so that you can receive immediate treatment if you have a severe reaction after the allergy shot.
- Keep a properly stocked emergency kit with prescribed medications available at all times. Your doctor can advise you on the appropriate contents. This may include an epinephrine autoinjector. Make sure your autoinjector has not expired; these medications generally last 18 months.
- If you're allergic to stinging insects, exercise caution when they're nearby. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and don't wear sandals or walk barefoot in the grass. Avoid bright colors and don't wear perfumes or colognes. Stay calm if you are near a stinging insect. Move away slowly and avoid slapping at the insect.
- If you have specific food allergies, carefully read the labels of all the foods you buy and eat. Manufacturing processes can change, so it's important to periodically recheck the labels of foods you commonly eat. When eating out, ask about ingredients in the food, and ask about food preparation because even small amounts of the food that you're allergic to can cause a serious reaction.
It's important to do everything you can to prevent an anaphylactic reaction by avoiding your triggers. But even if you're careful, at some point you'll likely be exposed to the substance you're allergic to. Fortunately, you can be prepared to respond quickly and effectively to an allergy emergency by knowing the signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, and having a plan to quickly treat those symptoms.
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