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Dealing With A Severe Allergic Reaction

What Is A Severe Allergic Reaction?Emergency disaster kit on wheels

Most people have experienced allergic reactions during their lifetime, and most of them are annoying rather than serious.  Hay fever, a rash, even hives can occur from many sources and they generally fade without any intervention.  However, there are times when a person can experience a very severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis.  Unlike a sneezing fit, this reaction can cause breathing difficulties and cause the person to go into shock.  Generally, if treatment is not given quickly, the person can die from this. Regardless, you should always have a first aid kit to handle as much as you can until professional medical help can assist.
Dealing with A Severe Allergic Reaction

Warning Signs

Anaphylaxis usually occurs because the person has become extremely sensitized to the allergen.  This is very common in the case of bee or hornet stings.   After a certain number of stings, the person actually becomes hyper-allergic to them and another one can trigger anaphylaxis.  Other things that can cause this sort of reaction are prescription medications, certain foods, and materials used in medical testing.  People who already have allergies are more likely to suffer an attack of anaphylaxis.

What basically happens is that the body over-reacts to the problem and produces too much histamine.  This substance will begin to attack the organs of the body, which is what causes the problem of anaphylaxis.

When this attack begins, the person may exhibit a number of symptoms such as swelling of the face, hives, diarrhea, lightheadedness, and difficulty breathing.  Help should be given immediately to prevent the condition from worsening.  While a first aid kit isn't ideal in a allergy situation, it does hold very helpful items in this situation.

Be Prepared

If sensitivity to stings or other factors is known, it is best to have the person tested by a doctor.  Some people are desensitized by specific treatments to the allergen, but it is probably best to have an injection of epinephrine on hand to deal with an extreme situation.  Should the person need the injection, it is best given in the outer thigh.
Hold the needle in place to the count of 10, and then withdraw the needle.  Massage the site to help the epinephrine spread.  Call emergency services as soon as the injection is given, and then try to get the person as comfortable as possible. first aid fanny pack

Sometimes, there may be no warning, and anaphylaxis must be handled without epinephrine.  If the person is still conscious, help them lie down, and then call 911.  If they have any medications to help deal with this, such as an antihistamine, let them take this.  An unconscious person should be placed on their side to help keep the breathing passages open.  During anaphylaxis, breathing may stop altogether; in this case, you will have to place the person on their back and begin to administer CPR.  You will have to do this until emergency services arrive.

The main thing to remember when dealing with anaphylaxis is that you must act quickly.  This is not a situation where you can stop to consider your options.  Call emergency services immediately, administer any medications available, and remain near the patient until help arrives.