Anaphylactic Reaction Halted Without Benadryl/Epi-pen? How is That?


When Jesse had his anaphylactic reaction last month at school, the symptoms of anaphylaxis stopped progressing before he had received any treatment (i.e., Benadryl or the Epi-pen).

His reaction started out with chest constriction for which he was given his Ventolin puffers at school. Then, he vomited. Bright red blotchiness developed all over his face. Then generalized body hiving.

When we were at the hospital, waiting to be seen by the doctor (me with Epi-pen in hand), the blotchiness on his face started to go away.

Jesse was eventually treated with Benadryl and we were told to keep him on Benadryl for the next two days, which we did.

But I just realized, in answering in another thread, that I don't understand this.

Why would the anaphylactic reaction have stopped without Benadryl or the Epi-pen? Why didn't it keep progressing? I don't understand. I thank heaven that it didn't keep progressing, but I don't understand why it would be halted [img][/img]

Many thanks and best wishes! [img][/img]


On Jan 30, 2003

I think I read this here somewhere, but a bride, in the midst of her wedding had an anaphylactic reaction that simply went away during the ceremony. She didn't have her epi-pen on her, and had just walked down the isle. Her doctor said the sheer amount of increased adrenalin in her system fought off the reaction from progressing further.

Perhaps the same amount of adrenalin in Jessie's system due to fear helped combat the reaction. Maybe the amount of offending allergin was so small that Jessie's increased fear adrenalin did what was needed.

Maybe some people have more naturally occuring adrenalin than others?

Just a warning - running during a reaction doesn't increase your adrenalin to fight the reaction - running was a contributing factor in the anaphylactic death of a little neighbour of ours years ago. [img][/img] Remind your kids never to run if they think they're having a reaction - have them ask someone else to run for extra help even if the epi-pen is close enough to grab and stab. (sorry to be so blunt).

On Jan 30, 2003

syd's mom, that is a brilliant explanation. Of course you are so right about the running, we have told our son to sit down right away because any moving can increase the reaction.

------------------ Cynde

On Jan 30, 2003

Syd's Mom, do you think increased adrenalin could be the only reason? It's certainly a good thing is increased adrenalin will halt an anaphylactic reaction.

I'm wondering about Jesse in this case. At the time that all of this was going on, he didn't realize that he was having a peanut allergic reaction. However, he could have had increased adrenalin simply because he felt the need to go to the office and ask for his puffers. Although no one in the office could tell that he was having difficulty breathing, and he very well may not have been, I believe his chest constricted on him and he *felt* as though he was having trouble breathing, a heaviness in his chest.

And yes, if that was the case, I can see him getting anxious and his adrenalin starting to flow.

Totally unrelated story, but we got our dog in September month and it just so happened that 4 days after we got the dog, I had to help my friend close up the warehouse that I had been running all summer for him, so Jesse knew that no one was home with the new dog and he was very anxious about it. I'm at work, basically (where I never am) and I get a phone call from the principal because Jesse has come into the office saying that he can't breathe and needs his asthma puffers. I realized sadly that the poor wee guy was having an anxiety attack because no one was home with the new dog. [img][/img] What a sensitive wee soul.

Your explanation sounds perfect. Can you imagine a bride having an anaphylactic reaction and still walking down the aisle? Wow. She really must have wanted to get married to that fellow [img][/img]

Also, you made a good point that I will have to tell Jesse. That he is never to run himself to get help unless no one is around, but to have a friend go and get help for him should he have a reaction.

And hey, Syd's Mom, is this a rare occasion or do you also have Night Owl (or is it Night Hawk?) tendencies? I used to have them more than I do now, or actually what I mean is I would be posting here at 3:00 in the morning if I got up in the middle of the night, but I do think I've seen you post quite late before. Just curious [img][/img] (oh, and off topic, haven't been back to DebO's Take Action thread but if you still wanted to use my letter for the M.P.P. or M.P., by all means, please go ahead. I have been meaning to post that for quite some time. I saw the question and then got waylaid, as I often do [img][/img] and never answered you. You, personally, don't need my permission for such things).

cynde, also, I had never thought about the movement part ever and I really appreciated it when I posted about Jesse's reaction and you mentioned about your child lying down, not being walked around (like how Jesse was being walked home to me). I have since put that in his emergency medical plan, thanks to you. [img][/img]

Best wishes! [img][/img]


[This message has been edited by Cindy Spowart Cook (edited January 31, 2003).]

On Jan 30, 2003

I have night owl syndrome too.... and I have work tomorrow morning at 9 am! *haha* I am usually up until 1:00 to 2:00 am...

Good night all...


On Jan 31, 2003

Dear Cindy,

I can't really add anything to the Benadryl question. What I really am interested in is the details of Jesse's last reaction. How did you decide that it was anaphylactic and have you figured out what was the cause? Has he been tested for other allergies?

I looked under reaction/stories but could not find anything. I felt that searching under your name or words such as reaction might bring up too many threads. Do you think that you could add this story to that topic? I always think that something might be learned from other's reactions.

Thanks! -Cindia

On Jan 31, 2003


Good question - our DS's first two ana. reactions stopped by themselves (no treatment). We were clueless as to what was actually happening. I know that sounds terrible, but it's true. I knew NOTHING about PA, and DH didn't put the pieces together at the time (knew one person in college with PA).

DS's first reaction was coughing and vomiting. The second was vomiting and light wheezing with hoarseness. No hives, swelling, struggling to breathe, etc. Both stopped without treatment. (I don't want it to sound like these reactions weren't significant - if DS had this kind of reaction now, we'd Epi without hesitation. We just really had no idea back then.)

I'd guess the adrenalin explanation would fit, but not sure in my DS's case. What do you think?

I also knew about the running. I'm thinking that's why the lawyer didn't make it in time with his Epi - hurrying to the car probably sped up the reaction, probably something he didn't realize. Just guessing there.

[This message has been edited by Lam (edited January 31, 2003).]

On Jan 31, 2003

Kylie's first (and only) reaction also resolved on it's own. We were not aware of the allergy at the time, so had no meds with us. She ate a few cashews and almost immediately started crying, complaining about her throat. One eye swelled, and she vomited twice. Her breathing never became a concern, no wheezing or gasping, but she complained that her throat was "getting worser". The whole thing was over in about 15 minutes. I didn't know what was going on, thought maybe she had a piece of the nut stuck in her throat, and made her drink a bunch of water. The next day I took her to the doctor to check for an allergy. I think we were lucky that it took care of itself so quickly and did not progress to a life-threatening situation. Why it resolved on its own I do not know, but I'm grateful that it did.


On Jan 31, 2003

Cindia, I had placed the story under Living with PA rather than Reactions. I'll re-raise it so you can have a look at it.

The reason it was anaphylactic is because it involved more than two body systems. His chest constricted so something to do with his breathing or lungs. He threw up, so his stomach. The red blotchiness and generalized body hiving, so his skin.

It was very different than his other two anaphylactic reactions which did involve more than those systems that it affected this time. Also, in looking at his first reaction, when he was 18 months old, and the definition of anaphylaxis (I'll also re-raise that thread under Main Discussion where it says about the two body systems), I believe his first reaction was anaphylactic as well. Looking back just now, it was also halted without medication and he was 18 months old, so I don't think adrenaline from him being frightened/anxious would have kicked in (Lam, that may help with your query, or not help, but add to it as well - children too young to have adrenaline click in, or does it click in naturally somehow regardless of age and more so when they are old enough to be frightened/anxious?).

Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Jan 31, 2003

I've wondered the same thing. When my dd had her last reaction at school they called me to come in and by the time I got there she was doubled over in pain (her tummy), she was so white and lethargic even though she was crying quietly from the pain, she said her stomach felt wavy (nausea) and so I gave her benadryl and then she broke out in hives and one side of her face started to swell. I drove her to the hospital and on the way I gave her another dose of benadryl. By the time we got there she was feeling much better. Oh, I forgot to mention that when I got to the school her voice was raspy. I just don't know if I should have given her the epi pen. Obviously, everything turned out ok in this case but I just wonder how many of you would have chosen to give epi right away in this case?

BTW, The "doctor" in emerg said she probably just had the stomach flu. When I asked when benadryl started clearing up the stomach flu he said, "oh no, you're right that was definitely an allergic reaction".!!!!Will they ever learn!!

On Jan 31, 2003

I had the same can an anaphylactic reaction stop without any ben/epi?? My son had an anaphylactic reaction (hives, wheezing, vomitting, etc) 2 summers ago and by the time the ambulance got there...his symptoms were improving and almost gone. I wasn't prescribed an epi-pen at the time so he recieved nothing before his symptoms going away.???????????

On Jan 31, 2003

Yes... allergic reactions can stop without benedryl or the epi-pen.

When I was a kid, there was no such thing as an epi-pen and I had never heard of benedryl. This was a long time ago by the way.

I had reactions with nausea, hives, etc and usually they would begin to fade after an hour or so without treatment. I think the body raects, and then the reaction starts to end.

When I was a bit older and had a reaction to cake, the only medication I took was a chlor-tripilon antihistimine and that seemed to get rid of the reaction... (the reaction still lasted from about 9 pm until 3 am - hives and nausea).

But since I heard about the epi pen and ordered one (8 years ago??) I have had no food ingestion reactions.

Although based on my prior reaction experience, I would not use my epi pen unless it was a more serious reaction. If I had hives, nausea, etc I would have the epi pen ready, but wouldn't use it unless the reaction seemed more serious, such as feeling light headed, short of breath, feeling of doom, etc (since I have gone through several reactions before).

On Jan 31, 2003

I have read that vomiting has helped expell enough of an offending allergin to help the body recover during an anaphylactic reaction (not to be used as a substitute for Epi, though) Maybe this helped Jessie, as well as natural adrenalin kicking in?

I also know people who, in the midst of anxiety attacks, display numerous symptoms of anaphyactic shock, that if I would have been around, I'm sure I would have used the Epi on them!

(Cindy - yes -Night Owl most nights - little to no time during the day with a 3 year old in the house/snowbank/skating rink, and this same 3 year old isn't asleep until 10p.m. onward, or else she's up at 4a.m. - she needs little sleep, thus I don't get much either! Cheers, K)

On Jan 31, 2003

Cindy - I didn't realize Jesse had a reaction in December! Poor guy! It sounds exactly like Cayley's first reaction - I'm so sorry to hear about it. [img][/img]

I have an adult friend, Kim, who's been PA/TNA all her life and like erik, she has "conquered" many reactions either just by waiting them out in a quiet room (bad, bad idea) or by using her inhalers (she is also asthmatic). However, her last reaction, about a year ago, necessitated the use of an EpiPen and a Benadryl drip at the ER. She was given a homemade cookie by her daughter's friend, who [b]assured[/b] her it was safe. Turns out the friend's grandmother had made a batch of walnut cookies in the same bowl that later produced Kim's "sugar" cookie. You just can't trust anyone (although Kim finally trusts me, lol, now that I "get it").

Take care!

Carolyn [img][/img]

On Jan 31, 2003

Cayley's Mom, it's okay, you were off-line when Jesse had his reaction. [img][/img] Just frightening because it was at school and because it may have been something in the breakfast program that I run that caused it.

Cindia, I'm sorry, did you ask me if Jesse had any other food allergies that could have caused the reaction? (I have had more coffee now, but I believe still not enough, especially with the two kids not in school to-day with an N.I. day).

Jesse had cinnamon toast that morning made on bread with sesame seeds. The E.A. that was volunteering with me for 15 minutes for two days a week even asked me if the sesame seeded bread was okay for Jesse to have and I said yes, because he has eaten sesame seeds several times. Then, he had the reaction, although he had complained of a sore throat after eating the Corn Flakes that he had been eating all along (i.e., the bag was almost empty).

Later in the day, when I spoke with the E.A. who was basically given the responsibility of Jesse during his reaction, she really felt it was the sesame seeds. I called the bread manufacturer (I believe it was Dempster's - I posted about it here) and the bread is made in a peanut free facility, no chance of cross-contamination.

As Going Nuts suggested, Jesse may have developed an allergy to sesame seeds, as her PA son did. I now have to have him tested for sesame seeds. [img][/img]

Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Jan 31, 2003

Both Kevin and I have had anaphylactic reactions that cleared up without help, though we both felt horrible for hours. I certainly would not recommend it!

Dashing off now so no time for details, but frankly I think it's all been covered.


On Jan 31, 2003


Let me quote at length from an allergy textbook I have: (Allergy Theory and Practice, Kornblatt & Wedner)

"The syndrome of anaphylaxis is characterized by a variety of signs and symptoms that may occur singly or in combination. The spectrum of anaphylactic reactions is a continuum of systemic allergic reactions ranging from very mild to life-threatening. Such seemingly trivial problems as itching of the hands and feet while a crabmeat appetizer is being eaten, rhinorrhea noted soon afer an antibiotic is taken, and cramping abdominal pain that follows a yellow jacket sting are all, in a very real sense, anaphylactic reactions and may be the harbingers of more serious problems to emerge in the future. Fortunately most anaphylactic reactions are not life-threatening, but all have the capacity to become so rapidly. "

So, if a reaction is systemic, it doesn't matter if it's mild or severe, or resolves on its own -- it's still considered anaphylactic. I also note that the author says these reactions can occur singly -- many people here mention that they only consider it "anaphylactic" if two or more systems are involved, and I think that's inaccurate. I would hate to see people wait for that second symptom to occur...

Hope that helps! Kay

On Jan 31, 2003

We have never used the epi-pen for Leah, and she has vomitted up the Benadryl each time - so I guess her reactions have also resolved on their own. I think there would be many, many more deaths from FA's if this didn't happen frequently. As Erik said, the epi-pen is quite a new invention - much newer than food allergies. I think the deal is that you never know if a reaction will subside on its own, and you certainly don't want to wait to find out. That's why its so important to use the epi-pen.

*Just have to add that the idea of doing a search using Cindy's user name as the search criteria [b]would[/b] be pretty scary! Don't they limit it to 200 matches? [img][/img] Cindy, you know I love you!!! [img][/img] [img][/img] [img][/img] Miriam

On Feb 8, 2003

Like Kay I checked a book, I have a medical dictionary, that is very handy. Under anaphylaxis the prognosis section says "In mild cases, favorable; symptoms are self limited. In severe cases, death may occur if emergency treatment is not given."

Mild anaphylaxis can resolve itself, as we've all sort of concluded here, severe anaphylaxis will not. How do we know if it is going to become more severe? We don't. We also don't know if there will be a biphasic reaction. These can also be more severe than the original reaction.

------------------ Cynde