This is How to Overcome Drug Allergies – Every drug generally has side effects, one of which is triggering an allergic reaction. In people who have drug allergies, allergy symptoms can appear quickly within hours or slowly within a few days of taking the drug.
Drug allergies can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe symptoms. Therefore, you need to know how to deal with the right drug allergy so that the symptoms that appear can be resolved immediately and you avoid conditions that can be fatal, such as anaphylactic shock.
Allergy symptoms that appear can vary. In mild drug allergic reactions, symptoms may include rash and itching of the skin, swelling of the lips and face, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
However, allergic reactions to drugs that occur can sometimes be severe and cause severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, weakness, and loss of consciousness or fainting. This condition is called anaphylactic shock. In certain cases, an allergic reaction to drugs can also cause a condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis.
Allergic reactions should not be tolerated. If treated too late or not treated properly, allergy symptoms that were mild can become severe. Some people are even at risk for anaphylaxis, a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction.
Here are various treatments that can help with drug allergies:
1. Stop using the drug
If you experience allergy symptoms such as shortness of breath and itching shortly after taking the drug, stop using it immediately. Also, don’t force yourself to take the next dose.
Allergic reactions usually appear within minutes to hours after taking the drug. The types of drugs that most often cause allergic reactions include:
- Antibiotics such as penicillin.
- Aspirin and non-steroidal pain relievers (NSAIDs).
- Cancer chemotherapy drugs.
- Medicines for autoimmune diseases, including rheumatism.
- Corticosteroid cream or lotion.
- HIV/AIDS drugs.
- Medicinal products/supplements/vitamins containing bee pollen.
- Echinacea, an herb commonly used for colds.
- The dye used for MRI, CT scan, and so on (radiocontrast media).
- Opiates for chronic pain.
- Local anesthetic.
2. Taking allergy medicine
Allergy sufferers are strongly advised to keep allergy medications and carry them everywhere. That way, if you experience a reaction, simply stop using the drug and relieve the symptoms by taking allergy medicine.
The most common drugs used to treat drug allergies are antihistamines and corticosteroids. Both are effective in relieving mild allergy symptoms such as skin rashes and redness, sneezing and runny nose, to red eyes.
If an allergic reaction causes shortness of breath and coughing, a bronchodilator medication such as albuterol may be used. However, you should consult a doctor first considering that allergy medications can also trigger allergic reactions in some people.
3. Doing home care
If the symptoms that appear are mild, you can take various ways to deal with drug allergies, including taking cold showers, giving cold compresses or applying calamine lotion to the skin or body areas that feel itchy and a rash appears, and take antihistamine drugs.
4. Taking allergy relievers
Mild allergic reactions usually subside on their own within a few hours or days. This condition can also usually be treated with home remedies.
However, the symptoms of drug allergy that appear can sometimes be severe or never go away. If you experience such drug allergies, you need to immediately see a doctor for treatment.
5. Desensitization therapy
This therapy may also be carried out if you have allergies to certain drugs that need to be taken in the long term. This therapy aims to reduce the risk of allergic symptoms recur in the future.
Desensitization therapy is carried out by giving small amounts of drugs or allergy-triggering substances into the body, then the dose is gradually increased until the patient’s body can recognize and tolerate the drug.
If you have a history of drug allergies, don’t forget to note down the type of drug that caused the allergic reaction. The goal is that you can tell your doctor or health care provider about your history of drug allergies before undergoing any medical treatment.
If you do not know what medicines can trigger an allergic reaction, you can consult a doctor for an examination. To determine the trigger for allergies, your doctor may recommend that you undergo an allergy test.
When you have an allergic reaction to a drug, try not to panic and stop all medicines you are taking immediately. If the symptoms that appear do not improve, immediately see a doctor so that treatment can be done quickly and appropriately.
Drug allergy treatment at home
In addition to using drugs, it is also important to do various accompanying treatments at home to relieve allergy symptoms. Here are some simple things you can try.
1. Take a warm bath
A warm bath is one of the home remedies to treat body itching due to drug allergies. Not only that, bathing with warm water also helps relieve swelling in the body due to allergic reactions.
Before taking a shower, make sure that the water you use is warm, not hot. Hot water can actually strip moisture from your skin and make your itching worse.
2. Apply calamine lotion
Calamine is a medicine in the form of a lotion that can be used in the treatment of itching due to drug allergies. When applied to itchy bumps or rashes, it creates a cooling sensation that can soothe the inflammation in your skin.
Before using calamine lotion, wash your hands and itchy skin with soap and water. After that, apply the lotion as recommended on the package. Do not use too much or too little than recommended.
3. Compressing ice to itchy skin
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a compress to the itchy skin area as a way of dealing with a recurring drug allergy. You can do this treatment by attaching a bottle filled with cold water or a clean cloth dampened with water.
You can also put a few ice cubes in a plastic bag and cover the plastic with a thin towel. Apply the compress to the itchy and swollen skin area for 5-10 minutes until the itching subsides.
4. Use moisturizer
In addition to using an ice pack, you can also apply a skin moisturizer that is usually used every day after being cooled in the refrigerator. Apply a cool moisturizer to itchy skin as a way to treat itching due to drug allergies.
Drug allergies cause disturbing, and even severe, symptoms in some people. Although allergies can’t be cured, taking medication can help relieve symptoms and prevent allergies from recurring in the future.