Ibuprofen side effects: Telltale signs on your skin of a ‘serious allergic reaction’

Pharmacist explains how paracetamol and ibuprofen work

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Ibuprofen is widely taken for period pain, back pain, toothache and other problems. It can also be an ingredient in some cold and flu medicines, such as Nurofen Cold and Flu. In rare cases, it’s possible to develop an allergic reaction to the painkiller. Here are the symptoms to spot.

One of the main symptoms of a “serious allergic reaction” affects the skin.

You can get a skin rash that may manifest as itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin.

These are other possible allergic reaction symptoms:

  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest or throat
  • Trouble breathing or talking
  • Swelling of mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat.

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Call 999 or go to A&E if you experience any of these symptoms.

Any of these could signal a “serious allergic reaction” and might require urgent hospital treatment, according to the NHS.

People who experienced an allergic reaction to ibuprofen in the past are advised not to take ibuprofen by mouth or apply it to their skin.

The same advice applies to people who are allergic to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like naproxen.

The NHS advises telling your doctor about any history of allergic reactions and other conditions you suffer from in order to make sure ibuprofen is safe for you.

Allergic reaction is not the only side effect of ibuprofen, there are some more common ones.

Those can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and indigestion.

To see the full list of possible side effects, refer to the patient information leaflet that came with your medicine.

Ibuprofen can also come in a form of gel, mousse and spray that you rub into your skin.

Keep in mind that the side effects of the oral version of the painkiller are different to the one applied to the skin.

People are less likely to have side effects when opting for the skin version. However, there are some possible risks, especially when you apply it to a large area of skin.

Some remedies available for the more common side effects depending on the problem are eating plain foods, drinking plenty of water and lying down.

Ibuprofen operates by reducing hormones that cause pain and swelling in your body.

It takes 20 to 30 minutes for the painkiller to kick in when you take it by mouth, and one to two days when applied to the skin.

When taking ibuprofen tablets and capsules, make sure to eat some food or have a glass of milk to avoid upsetting the stomach.

Don’t take the painkiller on an empty stomach.

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