For Monica Hazra, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time – and it may have saved her life.

Last week, the Waterloo woman was on her way home when she noticed that her hands were itching and her eyes were puffy.

She decided to stop at her pharmacy – the Beechwood Wellness Pharmacy – to wash her hands and buy an antihistamine.

By the time she made it to the counter, the pharmacists knew that something was wrong.

“She seemed very disoriented,” said Phil Hudson.

“She was very short of breath, she was sweaty – typical symptoms of anaphylaxis.”

Hazra, who is a regular customer at the pharmacy, asked the pharmacists to call her doctor. They decided that another plan of action was needed.

“Taking a look at her, we could tell that things weren’t going well and that there was something wrong,” said pharmacist Meaghan Reaburn.

As time ticked by, Hazra’s symptoms quickly worsened. She wasn’t able to swallow medication, and was struggling to breathe.

At that point, they grabbed an EpiPen and used it on Hazra. Immediately, her condition started to improve.

Then paramedics showed up and took her to the hospital in an ambulance.

It’s still not clear why Hazra went into anaphylactic shock, which she says is something that has never happened before.

“It’s only now that I step back that I think ‘Wow, that was a close call,’” she said, adding that she now carries two EpiPens in her purse.

Hudson says the incident should be a reminder to everyone of what to do in the event of a medical emergency.

“If an anaphylactic response is happening … seek help immediately,” he said.

“Don’t wait in your car to see if things will get better, because typically they won’t.”

With reporting by Marc Venema