5. ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK and FIRST-AID TREATMENT

As mentioned earlier, an over-the-counter antihistamine drug can easily control an allergic reaction, but if the patient begins exhibiting symptoms of anaphylactic shock, it pays that you know the first-aid treatment for anaphylaxis.

These are the symptoms you need to watch out for in anaphylactic shock:

• Swelling of the whole face, including the throat

• Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath and wheezing)

• Nausea and vomiting

• Skin hives (itching, skin welts, red skin)

• Dizziness

• Loss of consciousness

• Drop in blood pressure

• Weak or rapid pulse rate

If a person has these symptoms, you should:2

• Call 911 immediately

• Give epinephrine as soon as possible if he has an epinephrine auto injector

• Have the patient lie down on his back and loosen his tight clothing to help improve his respiration

• Elevate his feet about 12 inches from the ground to improve circulation to the heart3

• Cover him with a blanket to prevent chilling and preserve his body heat

• If he starts vomiting, turn him to his side so he doesn’t choke

• Wait for help to arrive.

Of note, do not give the patient any food or water as this can cause choking and further obstruct his airways.

If the patient stops breathing, you need to perform CPR immediately.

• Lie the patient on his back and place your hands over the middle of his chest.Your hands should be placed one on top of the other.

• With your elbows locked, push hard and fast on his chest, compressing it to about two inches deep.2

• Do 100 chest compressions for every minute.

• Tilt the patient’s head back with his chin lifted up.

• Pinch his nose close and place your mouth over his to seal when you deliver rescue breaths.2

• Blow air into his chest twice, checking that his chest rises after each rescue breath.

• Continue the cycle of chest compressions (100 times per minute) and rescue breaths (two rescue breaths) until the patient begins breathing again or until the paramedics arrive.

Even if the patient starts improving, you still need to bring him to the hospital for monitoring.

If you or someone you know is suffering from regular allergy attacks, it’s important to identify the triggers so they know what to avoid next time.

Although most allergic reactions aren’t that fatal, some do need hospitalization, especially if anaphylaxis develops.

Knowing what to do in case of a severe allergic reaction can help save a life.2

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