Natasha’s Allergy Research Foundation’s latest newsletter asks this question – and how many of us really do know what to do? ‘If you do one thing today’ they say, ‘share this post – it could save a life.’ And so, I am……
Do you and those around you know how to help someone who is showing signs of Anaphylaxis?
Refresh your own knowledge below:
The 𝗔𝗕𝗖 of 𝗔𝗻𝗮𝗽𝗵𝘆𝗹𝗮𝘅𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝘆𝗺𝗽𝘁𝗼𝗺𝘀
Airways: As the airways constrict from swelling, symptoms may include difficulty swallowing, a swollen tongue (sometimes described as feeling furry), a croaky/hoarse voice.
Breathing: Noisy breathing, wheezing, an asthma attack, a persistent cough, chest feeling tight.
Circulation/Consciousness: An impending sense of doom/fear, weak but fast pulse, light-headed, dizzy, blurred or fading vision, extremely tired, lack of concentration. Children may seem tired and go floppy. In the worst case, a loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest.
𝗞NOW WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY
People with a history of Anaphylaxis will hopefully have been prescribed with an Adrenaline Auto-Injector (AAI). Inject it into their upper, outer thigh muscle. Hold in place for 5 to 10 seconds, depending on the brand. Instructions are on the side of each device.
𝗖𝗔𝗟𝗟 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗘𝗠𝗘𝗥𝗚𝗘𝗡𝗖𝗬 𝗦𝗘𝗥𝗩𝗜𝗖𝗘𝗦 𝗜𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗟𝗬
Do this whether or not an AAI has been used. After a few minutes, if there’s no improvement, a second AAI should be given if available. Do this as before in the top outer, opposite thigh.
The person should NOT walk or run, but must lie down flat, legs raised if possible, such as on a chair. If they have difficulty breathing, help them sit up to make this easier.
If they become unconscious, put them in the recovery position. If their breathing or heart stops, perform CPR until help arrives.
AAIs are the only immediate line of defence against an anaphylactic reaction. Please don’t hesitate to use one if you even 𝗦𝗨𝗦𝗣𝗘𝗖𝗧 Anaphylaxis.
𝗘𝗩𝗘𝗥𝗬 𝗦𝗘𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗗 𝗖𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗧𝗦.
Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), are 𝗡𝗢𝗧 sufficient to treat anaphylaxis. Antihistamines can help relieve allergic symptoms 𝗕𝗨𝗧 not anaphylaxis and can also mask them.
Even if the symptoms pass before an ambulance arrives and the patient is feeling better, it’s 𝗜𝗠𝗣𝗢𝗥𝗧𝗔𝗡𝗧 to still go to a hospital to get checked. It’s possible to experience a second wave of allergic symptoms, this can happen even a number of hours after the initial reaction.
It’s worth knowing that if anaphylaxis symptoms present themselves but no AAI is available, if you are close to a pharmacy, the pharmacist can administer an AAI without prescription. Whilst we ask people with allergies to ALWAYS carry their AAI’s everywhere they go, it’s also important to be aware of this, in case of an emergency, especially for someone experiencing anaphylaxis for the first time. Quick-thinking Clodagh Victory, a pharmacist from Dublin, saved a woman from a potentially fatal reaction. Read their story here.
Letter to my allergic child….
And if you want to get a feel of what it is like to be an ‘allergy parent’, click on their Instagram feed and read this ‘letter’. A short extract – but do please read the whole letter.
‘…. I look around as I drop you at school and wonder how the other mums and dads might feel having to worry all day as I do – worry whether their child will be okay at school today. Worry if they will get THE call. If the school staff genuinely understand how to help you, or if it slips from their busy minds.
I wish you never had to hear me say,
“No, you can’t go to your friend’s party.”
“No, you can’t eat the same snacks as your cousin.”
“No, you can’t go to school today because you need to rest.”
“No, no, no, no, no!” I want to scream “YES!” and for you to still be safe.’
If you want to support NARF’s work, stop by their website to see how you could do so.