Should I call 9-1-1 if someone is having an allergic reaction?

There are times when it is important to call 911 when someone is having an allergic reaction. If you are around a person who has a known anaphylactic (one of extreme sensitivity) reaction to an allergen and they are exposed to that allergen, calling 911 is the correct thing to do. Some people have mild reactions or have mild allergies to certain things and calling 911 is not necessary. However, if a person develops severe swelling of the face or any difficulty breathing, call 911 immediately. There are medications that can be used to treat severe allergic reactions, and it is important those treatments are started as quickly as possible.
Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number if the person:
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Complains of the throat tightening
  • Explains that he or she is subject to severe allergic reactions
  • Is unconscious

Continue Learning about Allergies



About one out of five Americans suffers from allergies. An allergy is an exaggerated response from the immune system to a substance such as dust, pollen, pet dander or mold. Other common triggers include foods such as peanuts and ...

milk; insect bites; and certain ingredients in cosmetics and jewelry. Allergies can cause anything from rashes and hives to itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, and wheezing.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.