How long can a reaction last?


Hi, I'm not posting about my own peanut-allergic son, but a friend of the family just asked me today about this. Her granddaughter, who has asthma and comes from a quite allergic family, had a taste of peanut butter on Tuesday and ended up a little while later at the ER with a swollen face and eyes. No breathing problems, hives, etc. At first I said yes, sounds like a peanut allergy and recommended that her daughter get her tested by an allergist to be sure. Then when she told me her cheeks and eyes are still swollen today despite benedryl every six hours since Tuesday night, I questioned whether this could be a peanut reaction. The grandmother is not sure either, as he daughter (the child's mother) has always been allergic to cats, dogs, etc. but keeps both a cat and dog in the house anyway, and the grandmother is wondering if the swelling is a reaction to something else since it is persisting for so long. I had to agree - because I've never heard about a reaction lasting for days, but I don't know for sure. I definitely think she should be tested, but in the meantime, what do you think - can a swelling reaction go on this long even with the constant benedryl? Oh, she also has crusty eyes from drainage since this started... any input would be appreciated! Sue

On Feb 4, 1999

Hi ~

I would recommend that she see her ped or allergist right away. Our son had a reaction that lasted from Saturday night into Monday morning and we ended up putting him on steroids to turn those histamines off! Sometimes it happens that way.

I would advise your friend to seek medical attention by seeing her doctor - she wouldn't be overreacting that's for sure. Better safe than sorry.

Good Luck. Nicole

On Feb 5, 1999

Never underestimate the power of an allergic reaction to the allergen. When our daughter was 2yrs old,she was hospitalized with having a severe allergic reaction. It took 3 weeks before she returned to her normal size. For the first two days following her feet were so swollen that she couldn't walk. The length of time that the swelling remains would depend on many factors. I agree with Nicole have the child seen ASAP. Stay safe

On Mar 8, 1999

Yep - recovery time is not etched in stone. My mother had her stomach pumped, was on a ventilator, being drowned in steroids and antihistimines and who knows what else.

It took 1 week to get out of ICU. Another few days in regular care in the hospital.

2 1/2 weeks for her skin to go from swollen bright red (head to toe) to the normal flesh colour.

One full month before she had enough strength to go back to work.

ps - this was her FIRST reaction...we found out about her allergy that night and it only took 7 minutes from the time of consumption to totally close her throat and stop her heart.

On Mar 11, 1999

Janice, That's such a scary story about your mother--I'm glad she is ok. I was curious because you said it was her first reaction, did she eat pn all her life and then suddenly developed the allergy?

On Mar 30, 1999

Janice. hi -- I'm a new member and have a response to your question. I have had my peanut allergy all my life (diagnosed at age 2). I have had reactions that have lasted as long as 3 weeks -- this one put me in the hospital for a week. Scariest part is that your symptoms, eg, hives, asthma, swelling, can actually go away and the return full force within 24 hours and send you into shock. That happened to me. When a person suffers even a mild reaction to peanuts, it's important to monitor that person CAREFULLY. My allergist recommends regular doses of bendaryl even after the hives disappear until you're sure that you are out of the woods. Good luck.


On Apr 9, 1999

Wow! Anne, I thought I was severely allergic, but your long-lasting reactions appear much worse.

The first time I slipped into anaphylaxis, I was 18 and a college freshman. That was more than 30 years ago. When a serious peanut allergy began, I called home. My mother, an R.N., ordered me to a hospital E.R. After treatment there, the staff dismissed me with a prescription. Standing in front of a pharmacist, I passed out and spent the next day hospitalized.

After that, whenever I anaphylaxed, the ER treatment usually ran 5-6 hours and included several injections of epinephrine, a shot of Benadryl, I.V. fluids, and sometimes a injected steroid. Afterwards, I'd take an oral steroid for a day and Benadryl for two or three days--until puffiness (edema) leaves the face and hands. Fortunately, I haven't had full-blown anaphylaxis for 15 years.

Since 1984, I've successfully used epinephrine to abort the anaphylactic process on more occasions than I'd want to admit. Care afterwards is still important, even when anaphylaxis hasn't occurred in the initial stage of the exposure. Typically, I'll have slight edema in the face and hands for a day or so. A couple of doses of prednisone and a day on Benadryl are helpful precautions. If at all possible, of course, the victim should see a knowledgeable doctor. Also, it's important to keep an epinenphrine syringe close at hand, just in case it all starts up again.