Do you ever wonder what you should do if someone had an allergic reaction?
Here’s our quick guide
Most allergic reactions are not severe and can be treated in the following way…
For mild allergy symptoms (hay fever or hives) give an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine.
For stuffy nose, give an OTC decongestant.
For itchy, watery eyes, use OTC allergy eye drops.
For itchy allergic rash, apply cold compresses and an OTC hydrocortisone cream.
Watch for worsening symptoms including anaphylaxis.
What happens in a severe allergic reaction – anaphylaxis?
This is a severe allergic reaction that needs immediate medical treatment. Many cases are caused by food allergies, medications, or insect stings.
During anaphylaxis the person’s airways narrow and their throat swells, which can make it hard to breathe. Their blood vessels widen, making their blood pressure fall, sometimes to dangerous levels.
Anaphylactic reactions usually happen fast. Symptoms often become the most serious within 3 to 30 minutes of exposure to the allergy trigger. Quicker reactions are usually more severe.
Most anaphylactic reactions have symptoms in two or more areas of the body.
What to do…
1. Call 999 or if possible ask someone nearby to do so.
2. If the person has severe allergies, they should keep two EpiPens (Epinephrine auto injection kits) with them at all times and readily available.
3. If they experience any sign of anaphylaxis, do not hesitate to use the EpiPen even if those symptoms do not appear to be allergy related. In this case time is of the essence.
4. Instructions on how to administer the injection are clearly printed on the EpiPen.
(EpiPen should only be injected into the middle of the outer thigh (upper leg), through clothing if necessary. Do not inject into your veins, buttocks, fingers, toes, hands or feet. Hold the leg of young children firmly in place before and during injection to prevent injuries.)
4. Using the EpiPen as a precaution will not harm them. If necessary the second injection can be given.
5. Call 999 even if you administer the injection.