A recent patient of mine went camping in Big Sur and returned with swollen arms, body and face – the picture of poison oak misery. So thought I’d post on allergic reactions.
Rash and anaphylaxis lie on opposite ends of the allergy spectrum. My heart weeps for anyone who gets an ER bill for the simple local rash. Topical OTC hydrocortisone or Benadryl +/- oral Benadryl +/- prednisone are cutting edge care, and quite easy to deliver even with telemedicine. For added finesse, add Technu (or Dawn dish soap) to remove the poison oak oils if that’s the problem.
On the other hand, ER’s earn their keep when allergy migrates to anaphylaxis. Such reactions, though infrequent, are life threatening, and are the reason for EpiPen and Auvi-Q autoinjectors. These are two products that help you inject 0.3mg epinephrine, which is remarkably effective. (Simultaneously they suction your cash costing ~$2-300 each… with1-2 year shelf lives!)