Told to not use Benadryl for reactions

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 12:22am
melissiabeth's picture
Joined: 05/24/2006 - 09:00

Our first allergist told us to use benadryl for anything but breathing problems. Our new allergist explained to us what would require the epipen in a more accurate way (2 or more body systems even if no breathing problems)

The office called today with my daughter's Rast results and i just happened to ask about what dosage of benadryl they suggest and she said never to use benadryl as it can mask a severe reaction. We are to observe her if she gets hives and not medicate her and see if the reaction progresses or subsides. (My daughter has never had a known reaction yet)

I feel very strange about this. Do you just not treat JUST hives with anything or do you wait until after the period of time you could have a severe reaction. For those of you who follow this plan how do you explain it to others who care for your child. I'll have to change my plan with our babysitter.

If hives are only symptom but are severe do you just give epi or don't treat at all if there are no other symptoms. These are all questions that came to me after the phone call with the nurse ofcourse. We don't have another appt. until Feb. and I will call the nurse's line but it will probaly take a few days for them to get back to me if not an emergency.


I know i've seen this subject on the boards here before- but for some reason my search function isn't working right now!

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 1:34am
bethc's picture
Joined: 04/18/2005 - 09:00

I know I've been told this by a Dr., too. I think it was our family practice doctor around the time DD had an anaphylactic reaction. Now, he was not the best source on food allergy information, to put it mildly, but he's generally well-informed. There is a concern about Benadryl making everything seem alright while the reaction is actually progressing, if you don't use an Epi.
Does your child's plan not call for Benadryl at all? I have heard of some that are that way. But DD's plan calls for Epi, then Benadryl for all reactions. I've read on this board that both things together are useful for stopping a reaction and keeping it stopped. They work in different ways.
I've talked to DD's allergist about mystery hives. He said that if she just gets 1 or 2 and we don't think she ate anything with peanut traces in it, we can just wash those spots with soap & water (she does get hives from touching peanuts), and if they don't go away, we can give her Benadryl. Although that isn't in her official FAAP, which addresses known ingestion, I have told the school nurse that one or 2 small hives with no other symptoms and no suspected peanut ingestion can be handled with washing and watching. More hives and I'd be thinking reaction. It's one of those gray areas.

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 2:39am
3xy1PAinNH's picture
Joined: 08/07/2006 - 09:00

I think it is Dr. dependent, and child dependent.
My son has had one moderate reaction.
His plan states Benadryl for hives, Epi for respir. distress.
The benadryl needs to be given every few hours for several days if there has been an exposure.

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 3:00am
maphiemom's picture
Joined: 12/01/2005 - 09:00

My daughter has had two reactions, the first and when we first knew of a problem , was scraping her tongue with her fingers, trying to gag herself, sweating, fatigue and then hives, knowing what I know now , if I had been equipped with epi I would have given it, but being the first sign of trouble and exposure to PA I called 911 by the time they arrived she was calming down all symptoms subsiding and paramedics gave her nothing and left after 20 minutes observation, the second was recently , obviously a tranfer situation from what we can conclude, she got 3-5 hives around her mouth , we watched her very closely and washed her hands took away all things around her and they completely went away as quickly as they came .So we just watched her very closely , it did not cause any other symptoms, she didn't even know she had the hives, for us that made sense, it seemed like to give epi for that would be an overreaction, and our doc didn't disagree and his daughter is also PA and he was shocked it didn't get any worse.
It is very hard to give direction to someone else as to when and what to do , I too struggled with this, I suggested to the school , if she has hives something is wrong , she doesn't get hives for anything but nuts so I have told them Benadryl for hives and call me so i can watch , I am very close by , and if any other symptoms develope Epi and 911.
I don't think there is a one size fits all answer for treatment especially if you have never experienced an exposure.
Always watch always carry Epi.

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 3:59am
alwaysonmymind's picture
Joined: 09/14/2006 - 09:00

i was told always use epi-pen
by the allergist.
he said benedryl not only masks symptoms,but also can confuse people taking care of your child as to what to use when a reaction occurs.if their is only an epi-pen for baby-sitters they will use that in emergency, instead of trying benedryl first.
"lets make may contains history, take them away, let our children be free"

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 5:05am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

We were told the same thing: antihistamine is to be used after epipen, not instead of. The story Mommyofmatt just posted about the 16 year old who died is a perfect example why.

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 5:10am
jtolpin's picture
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by 3xy1PAinNH:
[b]I think it is Dr. dependent, and child dependent.
My son has had one moderate reaction.
His plan states Benadryl for hives, Epi for respir. distress.
The benadryl needs to be given every few hours for several days if there has been an exposure.
Ditto Ditto Ditto, except for the son: change to daughter [img][/img]
Right or wrong -- That's OUR plan. YMMV
[b]* Obsessed * [/b]

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 5:17am
Adele's picture
Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

When I was in the ER (for something else) the ER tech noticed my Medicalert bracelet and asked what it was for.
When I told him, he said, 'I'm going to quiz do you STOP an allergic reaction?'
I said EPI!
He said, "WRONG' Epi buys you time but Benadryl STOPS the reaction.
So my question is, if you don't take Benadryl, how do you stop the reaction?

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 5:21am
samirosenjacken's picture
Joined: 09/30/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Adele:
[b]When I was in the ER (for something else) the ER tech noticed my Medicalert bracelet and asked what it was for.
When I told him, he said, 'I'm going to quiz do you STOP an allergic reaction?'
I said EPI!
He said, "WRONG' Epi buys you time but Benadryl STOPS the reaction.
So my question is, if you don't take Benadryl, how do you stop the reaction?[/b]
This is so wrong. The quote is something like "benadryl is fine for hives but epinephrine saves lives." Our action plan states that if we even think Sam has ingested peanuts we are to give epi pen immediately. We can give benadryl after but epi is first and foremost. If Sam gets mystery hives, we always give benadryl. Again, Dr. Wood stresses the importance of giving epi first and benadryl later.

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 5:29am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

As they say, "jack of all trades, master of none". I would take the allergist`s instructions over the ER tech`s advice any day.

Posted on: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 11:37am
melissiabeth's picture
Joined: 05/24/2006 - 09:00

Thanks for sharing what you all been told / do.
Bethc- The nurse said they don't suggest benadryl at all but if i wanted to give after epi during a reaction I could.
It would be so much easier if all allergist shared the same opinions. The first allergist we went to said benadryl for everything except if there is breathing problems this allergist says no benadryl at all.


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