Severe reactions occur rapidly, usually immediately after the patient eats, is bitten by an insect, or takes medication; Treat a severe allergic reaction as a medical emergency and follow primary care procedures
Patients having severe allergic reactions may have hives, wheezing, chest tightness, stomach pain and complain of nausea, difficulty breathing and swallowing sometimes due to swollen throat tissue, their blood pressure may drop leading to dizziness and fainting
Mild allergic reactions include sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and skin rashes, they are not usually life threatening and usually controlled by antihistamines
Anaphylactic shock is having a severe allergic reaction that often results in breathing difficulties for the sufferer. The person may also develop a weak thready pulse accompanied with low blood pressure and altered levels of consciousness. A doctor may prescribe an auto-injector EpiPen® when a person is identified as being at risk of anaphylactic shock.
Causes of Allergic Reactions
- Food Products - Nuts, Shellfish, Eggs
- Stings - Jellyfish, Bees, Wasps
A person suffering an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis is likely to develop a skin rash often with itchiness or swelling on their face, hands, or feet. The patient's breathing rate may slow down and they could begin vomitting or suffer with diarrhea.
Immediately contact your nearest emergency medical service (EMS) if a person is suffering from anaphylaxis. You may help the patient use their auto-injector/Epi-pen if they have breathing problems or a change in mental status (anaphylaxic). Constantly monitor and reassure the patient while waiting for an ambulance.
Patient Care for Allergic Reaction
Primary Assessment & Monitor AB-CABS
- If the patient carries an epinephrine kit, help them to use it following the directions for use
- If symptoms of anaphylaxis persist despite epinephrine administration, seek medical assistance before administering a second dose of epinephrine
- In unusual circumstances, when advanced medical assistance is not available, a second dose of epinephrine may be given if symptoms of anaphylaxis persist
- If epinephrine is not available, continue to monitor the patient's lifeline until EMS arrives, responsive patients may prefer to sit up for ease of breathing