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Benadryl should be given first for a serious allergic reaction. FALSE

True or False? Benadryl should be given first for a serious allergic reaction.

The correct answer is FALSE.  

Antihistamines, like Benadryl, will not stop or prevent anaphylaxis.  Antihistamines should not be used to treat more serious symptoms, like trouble breathing, or lots of symptoms that are occurring at the same time.  These medicines can help with hives or itchiness.

Serious allergic reactions should be treated with self- injectable epinephrine (e.g. EpiPen, Auvi-Q, Adrenaclick, or generic epinephrine)  Epinephrine takes less than 10 minutes to work and helps with all symptoms.  When in doubt, use your epinephrine auto injector.

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For more on recognizing and dealing with allergic emergencies see: Living Confidently with Food Allergies: Signs & Symptoms

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