Today I drank 1/2 of a Red Thunder energy shot. Tiny bottle. Within 2 minutes my lips and tongue swelled, I began itching everywhere, my skin got red and hot and I became confused. I was home alone, and when my breathing became difficult I knew I might be in trouble. I called 911 - by the time I got to the hospital - maybe 30 minutes later, I was better - they gave me Benedryl and sent me home. They said last we someone came to the ER with the same reaction to an energy drink.
Has this happened to anyone? What could I have been allergic to?
You could contact the company that makes the drink and ask them. The tough thing is that the ingredients in those energy drinks are unregulated and they often times don't list all the ingredients so it may be hard to figure out what caused your reaction. I'd certainly avoid them in the future though. That kind of reaction is scary.
You might also ask your primary care doctor for an epi-pen. It is good to have one on hand in case of any future emergencies. They can help open the airway until emergency help can arrive.
Except for the shortness of breath, several of those symptoms are the kind you would get from a "niacin flush." People will sometimes get swelling and feel heat sensations when they have a concentrated amount of niacin, a B vitamin. A lot of energy drinks are loaded with B vitamins. Some of them will even include a warning about the potential for getting a niacin flush.
If this is what happened to you, a niacin flush is not dangerous. However you also had shortness of breath so it could be something else.
As Benit stated, it does sound like a niacin flush. My understanding is that the stronger the flush the more toxic one is, so it's a good thing. I actually like the feeling of a niacin flush, but I'm weird. However, I don't think those energy drinks are really good for us.