Quick action will help your child during a serious allergic reaction. It's smart to occasionally review the instructions your doctor gave you and run through the steps you would take in an emergency. Here's a checklist for any parent of a child with a serious allergy: If your doctor prescribed an epinephrine injector (with two devices) for emergencies, make sure it is always with your child or with an adult who is in charge of your child — at school, at a birthday party, on vacation. Work with the school to decide where to store the injector and how your child can get it quickly, if needed. Know the signs of a serious reaction — such as trouble breathing, rash, swelling, vomiting, belly pain, diarrhea, and wheezing — and be ready to act quickly. Follow the instructions your doctor gave you. Teach your child and those who care for your child to do the same. Practice how to use the epinephrine injector often. Are there caps to remove? Which end rests on the skin? Where on the body is the injection site? How do you hold the syringe and release the medicine? Ask for a demonstration at your doctor's office. Visit the manufacturer's website to get detailed instructions. Manufacturers also may supply a trainer syringe that is not loaded with epinephrine, so you can practice all the steps safely. If your child is in charge of carrying the injector, make sure he or she practices too. If your child has a reaction and needs the epinephrine injector, give it right away. Have someone call 911 while you are giving the injection. If you are alone, call 911 after giving the injection or go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible. Your child may have a second wave of symptoms. Take the used epinephrine syringe to the hospital with you. Remember that antihistamines do not treat life-threatening symptoms and are not a replacement for epinephrine. Store the epinephrine injector according to the manufacturer's directions. Note its expiration date and get a new one before the one you have expires. Back to Articles Related Articles 5 Ways to Be Prepared for an Allergy Emergency Quick action is essential during a serious allergic reaction. It helps to remind yourself of action steps so they become second nature if there's an emergency. Here's what to do. Read More Food Allergies Doctors are diagnosing more and more people with food allergies. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with food allergies can make a big difference in preventing serious illness. Read More Food Allergies and Food Sensitivities Find more than 30 articles in English and Spanish about all aspects of food allergies in children. Read More Food Allergies and Travel Taking precautions and carrying meds are just part of normal life for someone who has a food allergy. Here are some tips on how to make travel also feel perfectly routine. Read More All About Allergies Millions of Americans, including many kids, have an allergy. Find out how allergies are diagnosed and how to keep them under control. Read More First Aid: Allergic Reactions Although most allergic reactions aren't serious, severe reactions can be life-threatening and can require immediate medical attention. Read More Hives (Urticaria) Hives cause raised red bumps or welts on the skin. They're pretty common and usually not serious. Find out what to do about hives in this article for teens. Read More Serious Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis) A person with severe allergies can be at risk for a sudden, serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This reaction can seem scary, but the good news is it can be treated. Read More Food Allergies Struggling with strawberries? Petrified of peanuts? Sorry you ate shellfish? Maybe you have a food allergy. Find out more in this article for kids. Read More Serious Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis) Kids with severe allergies can be at risk for a sudden, serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The good news is that when treated properly, anaphylaxis can be managed. Read More Nut and Peanut Allergy A growing number of kids are allergic to nuts and peanuts. Find out more about this problem and how allergic kids can stay healthy. Read More Allergy Testing Doctors use several different types of allergy tests, depending on what a person may be allergic to. Find out what to expect from allergy tests. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.