Allergies That Require an EpiPen, Here’s When You’ll Need One!

Posted October 23, 2020 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

Want to know the allergies that require an EpiPen? Here’s the guide on the types of allergies, which ones need an EpiPen, and the symptoms to look out for as well as much more helpful information!

But first, let’s start with the summary answer, then we’ll move on to discuss more details.

Allergies that require an EpiPen: You will require an EpiPen for severe allergies related to stings from bees, yellow jackets, wasps, fire ants, and hornets, or for shellfish, fish, or nuts. These allergies may lead to a condition called anaphylaxis that requires an EpiPen. It also requires immediate follow-up treatment after EpiPen Use.

That’s the simplified answer, so read on to find out more about how EpiPens work and when you might need one.

What You Need to Know About EpiPens for Allergies 

Allergies That Require an EpiPen

As you might already know, an EpiPen is prescribed for certain allergies. So, it’s important to know the background of allergic reactions to know what allergies require an EpiPen in the first place. 

Allergies are a reaction or result of the body’s reaction to a foreign substance. This could be anything from venom, pollen, and dust to even pet dander.

So, what happens when you get allergies is that your immune system generates substances called “antibodies” that identify something as a harmful allergen, even if it may not be.

Therefore, each time you come into contact with this allergen, the reaction of your immune system to this can lead to allergic symptoms. The symptoms can vary from anything, such as a runny nose, sneezing, dry cough, and inflammation of the digestive system. 

This is the general means of how allergic reactions occur. However, the specific reactions will vary from person to person.

Depending on the severity of these allergic reactions and your skin type, you may require an EpiPen. And we should be clear in stating that not all allergic reactions or allergies require an EpiPen.

Allergies that Require an EpiPen

There are two main types of allergies you may be prone to, known as seasonal and severe allergies.

Seasonal Allergies

These are brought about by even minor things like grass, pets, dust, or pollen. They may cause symptoms such as red or watery eyes and a runny or itchy nose. 

Seasonal allergies are rarely life-threatening, requiring medical attention.  So, seasonal allergies rarely require an EpiPen.

Seasonal allergies can often be treated using over-the-counter medications, such as oral antihistamine medications, nose sprays, or topical antihistamines.

Severe Allergic Reactions

Severe allergies are reactions that are related mostly to stings from bees, yellow jackets, wasps, fire ants, or hornets. Shellfish and nuts are also a major cause of allergic reactions.

These reactions lead to a condition called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis triggers in adults can also come from certain medication effects from antibiotics, aspirin, over-the-counter pain relievers, and the intravenous (IV) contrast used in some imaging tests. 

Anaphylaxis is a sudden and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs within seconds of exposure to an allergen. This exposure causes the body to go into a sudden shock, making it difficult to breathe or even remain fully conscious.

This medical condition is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical treatment.

Severe allergies that cause anaphylaxis will require an EpiPen.  You will be able to make savings on your EpiPen medication by enrolling in our PAP program page.

But before deciding if you have a severe allergy that can lead to anaphylaxis, it’s essential to find the allergen that’s causing the allergy.

If you suspect that you are allergic to a certain food or another factor, meet with an allergist to make further assessments. Ensure you meet with a board-certified allergist to evaluate your reaction/symptoms.

The allergist will obtain your medical history and perform a physical examination to identify your allergies. The allergist may also recommend you go through diagnostic testing if required.

Based on the assessment results, your allergist may prescribe an EpiPen if needed. This test will also give you a thorough understanding of your particular allergens, which you should then keep away from.

On the other hand, if you’ve already been diagnosed with any sort of allergy, you should regularly see an allergist anyway. This is necessary to re-test and find out if you’ve “outgrown” your allergy triggers or if you require the continuation of an EpiPen.

This is because, in some cases, a prescription for injectable epinephrine may no longer be medically necessary for you after a period of time.

How EpiPens Work

Allergies That Require an EpiPen

There are many symptoms of anaphylaxis that make it a potentially life-threatening medical condition. The EpiPen delivers epinephrine, which is a life-saving medication.

In brief, epinephrine constricts the blood vessels which increases blood pressure. This helps in reduce swellings, which is one of the main reactions from a severe allergy.

Epinephrine allows the muscles around the airways, allowing for easier breathing.

This drug also has the opposite effect of histamine. Histamine is a chemical compound that is involved in immune responses, which trigger allergic reactions. Therefore, epinephrine helps prevent allergic reactions from becoming life-threatening.

When and How do These Allergies Require an EpiPen

If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, you will require an EpiPen as soon as you suspect you have eaten or been exposed to an allergen.

Make sure you have two doses available when you require an EpiPen. This is because repeated doses of EpiPen may be necessary, depending on the severity of the allergy.

In situations where you feel you might require an EpiPen, it’s better to use it right away. This is because the benefits of the EpiPen outweigh the risk to life.

Regardless of whether your symptoms ease after injecting EpiPen, anaphylaxis will still need immediate medical attention afterward. This is because the epinephrine in the EpiPen will bring fast relief, but the allergen causing the allergic reaction may stay in your system longer than the active medicine.

Most experts advise patients to watch out for symptoms, so you’ll know when exactly you require an EpiPen.

Anaphylaxis occurs within a couple of minutes after being exposed to allergens. So, it’s necessary to watch out for these symptoms so you can use the EpiPen as fast as possible.

Learn more about how to deal with allergies

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis That Require an EpiPen 

The symptoms of anaphylaxis may vary from one person to another. If you’re a person with a history of anaphylaxis, then you will already likely be watching out for these allergic symptoms.

The following are the symptoms that will require you to use an EpiPen.

  1. Head
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling anxious
  • Passing out
  1. Lungs
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  1. Mouth
  • Itching
  • Swelling of lips and tongue
  • Tingling of lips or tongue
  1. Skin
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  1. Stomach
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  1. Throat
  • Coughing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Heart
  • Hoarseness
  • Itching
  • Tightness/closure
  • Weak pulse


We hope this has been useful in understanding more about allergies that require an EpiPen. If in any doubt, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

If you are having trouble affording any of your medications, then Prescription Hope may be able to help. Enroll with us and see if you qualify to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.