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A drug allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to something in a medicine. This causes an allergic reaction. Your child may have:
A reaction can range from mild to life-threatening.
After your child has an allergic reaction to a medicine, they may always be allergic to that medicine and to others like it.
Drug allergies are not the same as side effects and drug interactions. Side effects are expected, possible bad effects or reactions to medicines that aren't caused by the immune system. They are not usually serious. Drug interactions occur when two or more medicines that your child takes don't work well together in your child's body. Some people may confuse side effects and drug interactions with drug allergies. Talk to your child's doctor if you think your child has a problem with a medicine.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Know the signs of a severe allergic reaction (called anaphylaxis). These include a combination of 2 or more of the following:
Give an epinephrine shot if:
After giving an epinephrine shot call 911, even if your child feels better.
Call 911 if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter N521 in the search box to learn more about "Drug Allergy in Children: Care Instructions".
Adaptation Date: 5/2/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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