Al­ler­gic re­ac­tion

Prima (UK) - - Prima Promotion -

I last dealt with ana­phy­lac­tic shock (se­vere al­ler­gic re­ac­tion) in a car park. The lady didn’t have an adrenalin shot, be­cause she’d never had a re­ac­tion be­fore, so

I gave her an­ti­his­tamines, which stopped her de­te­ri­o­rat­ing un­til she re­ceived full treat­ment.

Symp­toms de­velop when an al­ler­gen (for­eign pro­tein) causes the re­lease of his­tamine. A cascade of po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic symp­toms can oc­cur, some of which are im­me­di­ate; oth­ers are de­layed by half an hour or more. With­out emer­gency treat­ment, th­ese can be fa­tal. Trig­gers in­clude foods (es­pe­cially nuts, milk, seafood, egg, soy and wheat); in­sect venom (such as bee stings); an­tibi­otics (par­tic­u­larly peni­cillin); drugs (in­clud­ing ibupro­fen and as­pirin); and hair dye. In many cases, no cause is found.

You may see rapid swelling of the tongue and air­ways, wheez­ing and breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, heart rhythm ab­nor­mal­i­ties and a fall in blood pres­sure. The per­son may also col­lapse. Rapid treat­ment with adrenalin, an­ti­his­tamines and cor­ti­cos­teroids is life-sav­ing in 98% of cases. Call an am­bu­lance, re­move any trig­ger (such as a bee sting) and lie the per­son flat or let them sit if they’re hav­ing dif­fi­culty breath­ing.

Ad­min­is­ter their adrenalin auto-in­jec­tor, if they have one (you’ll find in­struc­tions on the side), or help them do this them­selves. If symp­toms don’t ease, give a se­cond in­jec­tion af­ter five to 10 min­utes. Even if the per­son seems to re­cover, they will need hos­pi­tal treat­ment to pre­vent a re­lapse sev­eral hours later.

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