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Chapter 18: Allergy Emergencies

Defined:

When a person has an allergy, he or she experiences an immune response to a substance that is usually not harmful. An allergy emergency may occur if a person is exposed to this allergen. An allergic reaction may become severe if not treated in a timely manner.

Causes:

People may be allergic to a variety of different things such as:

Animals (i.e., cats, dogs)
Ant bites
Bee stings
Chocolate
Eggs
Medication (i.e., penicillin)
Peanuts
Pollen, dust, mold
Specific plants / chemicals in plants
Wasp stings

Signs and Symptoms:

Itchy skin
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (stomach pain)
Rash, hives, redness
Signs of shock
Stuffy nose, sneezing
Swelling of the tongue and face
Troubled breathing

 Common Emergency Example(s):

Anaphylaxis:

This is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. It occurs suddenly, and within seconds or minutes after contact with the allergen.

A reaction of troubled breathing can cause obstructions in the airway and even lead to shock. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical treatment, including the epinephrine injection and a trip to the hospital.

First Aid Actions / Treatment:

  1. Assess the scene and check for your safety.
  2. Activate EMS (Call 9-1-1).
  3. Get a First Aid kit if available.
  4. Many people that have an allergy carry an epinephrine pen. If the person responds, and has an epinephrine pen, help him get it. The person should know how to use it and can administer himself if necessary. If you are allowed to use an epinephrine pen, ask for consent and administer the injection.
  5. Rub the spot for 10 seconds, dispose of the injection properly and record what time the shot was given.
  6. If necessary, provide CPR. If you do not know how, give Hands-Only CPR.

Chapter 18: Allergy Emergencies

Defined:

When a person has an allergy, he or she experiences an immune response to a substance that is usually not harmful. An allergy emergency may occur if a person is exposed to this allergen. An allergic reaction may become severe if not treated in a timely manner.

Causes:

People may be allergic to a variety of different things such as:

Animals (i.e., cats, dogs)
Ant bites
Bee stings
Chocolate
Eggs
Medication (i.e., penicillin)
Peanuts
Pollen, dust, mold
Specific plants / chemicals in plants
Wasp stings

Signs and Symptoms:

Itchy skin
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (stomach pain)
Rash, hives, redness
Signs of shock
Stuffy nose, sneezing
Swelling of the tongue and face
Troubled breathing

 Common Emergency Example(s):

Anaphylaxis:

This is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. It occurs suddenly, and within seconds or minutes after contact with the allergen.

A reaction of troubled breathing can cause obstructions in the airway and even lead to shock. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical treatment, including the epinephrine injection and a trip to the hospital.

First Aid Actions / Treatment:

  1. Assess the scene and check for your safety.
  2. Activate EMS (Call 9-1-1).
  3. Get a First Aid kit if available.
  4. Many people that have an allergy carry an epinephrine pen. If the person responds, and has an epinephrine pen, help him get it. The person should know how to use it and can administer himself if necessary. If you are allowed to use an epinephrine pen, ask for consent and administer the injection.
  5. Rub the spot for 10 seconds, dispose of the injection properly and record what time the shot was given.
  6. If necessary, provide CPR. If you do not know how, give Hands-Only CPR.