BE PRE­PARED

IN THE LAST DECADES, THERE HAS BEEN A SIG­NIF­I­CANT RISE IN KID­DIE FOOD INTOLERANCES AND AL­LER­GIC RE­AC­TIONS. SCOTT WHIMPEY SAYS BE­ING PRE­PARED FOR EMER­GEN­CIES IS KEY.

Haven Magazine - - Wellbeing - Words: Bri­die Mac­don­ald

It is ev­ery par­ent’s worst night­mare to ex­pe­ri­ence a sit­u­a­tion when their child is in dan­ger, par­tic­u­larly if a child goes in to ana­phy­lac­tic shock. How­ever, prepa­ra­tion and ed­u­ca­tion is the key. Fist Aid Ac­ci­dent and Emer­gency (FAAE) is a busi­ness dedicated to ed­u­cat­ing the wider public in first aid train­ing. FAAE founder Scott Whimpey gives haven read­ers some in­sight in how to best iden­tify al­ler­gies and act in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions.

Have we seen an in­crease in cer­tain al­ler­gies over the years?

We cer­tainly have. The most com­mon al­ler­gies are nuts, dairy and egg. We have also seen a rise in the lev­els of gluten in­tol­er­ance and al­lergy.

What is your best ad­vice when in­tro­duc­ing chil­dren to new foods, par­tic­u­larly those that are com­mon causes of al­ler­gies?

When a small child starts to eat solids, it is a good idea for par­ents to use sin­gu­lar ex­po­sure to cer­tain prod­ucts. An­other good way of test­ing can be to rub a small amount of the food on the child’s skin to see if there are any signs of in­flam­ma­tion or swelling. It is also im­por­tant for par­ents to recog­nise the cause of cer­tain is­sues as many mis­di­ag­nose re­flux or bowel is­sues with an al­lergy.

What is the key in­di­ca­tor of an im­pend­ing ana­phy­lac­tic re­ac­tion?

This is a tough ques­tion as ev­ery body is dif­fer­ent. Ana­phy­laxis is a form of ex­treme al­lergy that can oc­cur within 10 min­utes to an hour of eat­ing. Some things to look out for are swelling of the face and lips, hav­ing hives (a red rash all over the body), breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and, in smaller chil­dren, them be­com­ing pale and floppy due to drop­ping of blood pres­sure. A good way of iden­ti­fy­ing symp­toms of ana­phy­laxis is through an ac­tion plan if avail­able. An ac­tion plan is a form that a med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner fills out for those di­ag­nosed with ana­phy­laxis or se­ri­ous al­ler­gies. It gives the reader clear in­struc­tions on how to best han­dle an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion and the var­i­ous symp­toms to look out for in an ana­phy­lac­tic per­son.

What steps should peo­ple take when a per­son be­gins to ex­pe­ri­ence an ana­phy­lac­tic re­ac­tion?

It is very im­por­tant to re­mem­ber to al­ways seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion and call an am­bu­lance im­me­di­ately no mat­ter what. Stay calm and fol­low the child/adult’s ac­tion plan if avail­able. If child is not di­ag­nosed and shows clear signs of an ana­phy­lac­tic at­tack, you are able to give them an EpiPen or an asthma puffer if avail­able. It is im­por­tant for par­ents to recog­nise the iden­ti­fy­ing signs of an ana­phy­lac­tic episode. While these tips give you some in­sight and in­for­ma­tion, they do not re­place a proper first aid course.

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