Allergic Reaction

Some Common Allergens

Watch out! There may be some common substances both found in and out of your office that can cause sudden allergic reactions. Examples are pollen, poison ivy, peanut, shrimp, latex, bees stings, penicillin, ant bites, dust or mold.

Always remember that some allergies can be particular and that you may even begin to develop reactions overtime even if you’ve never had any allergies before. Also, certain medical conditions can have allergic reactions as a result (see Asthma Attack) so always treat severe reactions seriously and seek medical help as soon as possible and as needed.

Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction

  • Swelling, redness or itching of the skin
  • Raised patches or blotches on skin (welts or hives)
  • Swelling of the throat or face
  • Coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Rapid, irregular pulse
  • Profuse sweating
  • Tightness in chest
  • Headache
  • Nausea and or vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Dizziness or unconsciousness

Steps to follow

1. Monitor the patients lifeline
Follow DRABC and be prepared to give CPR if necessary.

2. Assist with administering ready carried treatment (for known allergic reactions)
Some patients with known allergies will have an emergency dose of medication (like epinephrine, sometimes called an “EpiPen”) with them. Assist the patient to self administer it, or if they indicate to you they are carrying it and are unable to self- administer, administer it for them.

3. Call for medical assistance
Inform the emergency response team you are dealing with an allergic reaction and if possible indicate what the allergy is.

4. Immobilise patient
Keep the casualty in a lying down (recovery position) or seated position if they are fully conscious.

5. Monitor breathing and circulation
Talk to the patient to calm and reassure them. Record their pulse and breathing rate and continually monitor them for signs of deterioration.

Tip: Make notes to provide to medical help when it arrives. Try to establish what the patient is most likely reacting to. If they have any known allergies, make a note of them in case the patient loses consciousness.

Final tip if you have allergies: Always ask and inform. Common occurrences of allergic reactions happen because people around you do not know about your affliction, say, a waiter might end up serving you shrimp or peanuts by mistake. This won’t be entirely their fault. Make it a habit to inform others that this or that can cause such severe reactions in you, and ask for the ingredients too. It wouldn’t really hurt to be cautious.

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