The body’s immune system helps prevent sickness by creating antibodies to expel unwanted foreign substances. Sometimes the body will identify certain substances as harmful, even when they aren’t. This is what is known as an allergic reaction.
Some people are very allergic to certain medications, chemicals, and foods, or to injected venoms from a sting or bite. In fact, some allergic reactions can be incredibly severe and even cause death.
One of the most common foodstuffs that can cause a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction in sensitive people is peanuts. Many kids are allergic to this food item in any form, and parents, teachers, and child caregivers need to make sure they don’t accidentally get in contact with it.
An allergic reaction can happen anytime and they typically come unannounced. Some of them can be very severe, and if you don’t do the right things when it happens, the person suffering the reaction could lose their life. Here’s what you should do when someone gets an allergic reaction;
1. Stay With The Person And Ensure They Get Total Rest
An allergic reaction may cause someone to collapse, which means you’ll need to know how to manage an unconscious patient. Sometimes it may even require you to give them CPR. If the person is conscious, making sure they’re totally rested can slow down the reaction. Rest the patient in the most comfortable position possible to reduce any breathing difficulties.
2. Administer Any Prescribed Treatment Or Medication
Some people carry prescribed treatments for their allergic reactions in the form of puffers, tablets, or self-administered injections of adrenaline, for example, Anapen and Epipen. If necessary, help the person locate and administer their treatment.
If the person is too sick to take the medication by themselves, someone else should do it, carefully following all the medication’s instructions. You should do this immediately if there’s a development of an allergic reaction.
3. If The Reaction Is Because Of Chemical Exposure
Thoroughly wash all the affected areas with a lot of water. Avoid using soap or shampoo because that could end up making the situation worse because of the chemicals in the product.
4. Observe The Person Carefully
As you wait for the ambulance, observe the allergic person closely to see if their condition changes in any way. If the person loses consciousness, position them on their side.
5. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
If they stop breathing completely, then you may have to perform CPR on them. Don’t worry, you can perform CPS even if you don’t have formal training. It involves doing chest presses on the patient, around 80-100 per minute until the ambulance arrives.
6. Limit Further Exposure To The Substance
Further exposure to the substance that the person is allergic to could cause a more severe reaction. Therefore, you should move the person away from the substance especially airborne substances such as dust and pollen.
7. Apply A Cold Compress
For allergic reactions that cause skin irritation such as insect allergy, plant allergy, and metal allergy, you can apply a cold compress to soothe the irritation in mild cases.
8. Don’t Give Them Food Or Water
Avoid giving the allergic person any food as it could worsen their reaction since you might not know what caused the allergic reaction. Additionally, food and water are choking hazards especially if the person has breathing difficulty. Wait until they fully recover to give them water or food.
9. Keep Them Warm
Keeping them warm could help prevent their body going into shock. When you notice someone having an allergic reaction, cover them with a warm blanket.
10. Tell Your Doctor About A Drug Allergy
Drug allergies occur when the immune system mistakes a drug for a harmful substance. They are quite common. Therefore, it’s important to read medication instructions to check for any allergy warnings. In case you have an allergic reaction to a certain drug, avoid taking the drug and notify your doctor immediately. However, for mild reactions, your doctor will most likely still recommend the drug coupled with another drug to manage the reaction.
Treatments for Allergic Reactions
OTC (over-the-counter) decongestants and antihistamines can help relieve some of an allergic reaction’s minor symptoms.
For instance, antihistamines will prevent symptoms like hives by blocking the body’s histamine receptors so it does not react to allergens. Decongestants, on the other hand, help clear up the nose and are perfect for managing seasonal allergies.
You can get these medications either in the form of nasal sprays, eye drops, and tablets. Also, keep in mind, most over-the-counter medications will cause drowsiness, so don’t take them before you start doing work that needs a lot of concentration or before you drive.
When it comes to food allergies, the best way to treat this complication is by avoiding the food that triggers the reaction altogether.
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