Ever wondered how to save the life of someone having a serious allergic reaction? While there are medical professionals and EMTs who are our first line of defense, we need to take it upon ourselves to learn how to help save lives because an ambulance doesn’t come right away, especially in rural areas. We can’t expect someone else will do it.
People with severe allergies use an EpiPen that contains epinephrine. An EpiPen gives a person having a severe allergic reaction about ten minutes to live until an ambulance arrives with the medicine they need. A person with a severe allergy must carry their EpiPen with them. Parents of small children with severe allergies must carry their child’s EpiPen at all times. If you or someone close to you have an allergy, it's really important to know how to save the life of someone having a serious allergic reaction.
A person can be allergic to anything, but the most common severe allergens are nuts, penicillin, shellfish, and insect stings. The allergic reaction can start seconds after coming into contact with the allergen.
1. Know Who to Call
What to look for in a severe allergic reaction? The symptoms include difficulty breathing, tight chest, shock, and a swollen throat and tongue. Call 911 immediately in the United States and Canada. Call 999 if in the United Kingdom. Call 000 if in Australia. Call 111 if in New Zealand. Call 10111 if in South Africa. Call 112 or 102 in India. Call 112 in continental Europe. It’s important to know various countries’ emergency numbers in case you are traveling or living abroad. Knowing the right emergency number is one of the best answers for how to save the life of someone having a serious allergic reaction.
2. Give Clear Information
Tell the dispatchers a person is having a severe allergic reaction which is called anaphylaxis (say ana-phil-axis), and tell them what you think triggered it. For example, “Phil got stung by a bee.” Be sure to tell them the county you’re in so the EMTs don’t drive to a street in another county as cell phone towers are not always located where you’re calling from.
3. Use an Epipen
Next, use the EpiPen (auto-injector) on the person’s leg in the upper thigh, and only the upper thigh, nowhere else on the body. Parents of small children with severe allergies and older children and adults with EpiPens must make sure their EpiPens are not past their expiration date or they will not work!
4. How to Use an Epipen
Now, pull the cap off of the EpiPen. Grip it firmly in your hand. Do not put your thumb over the needle area. Do not hold it from the back. Stab the EpiPen into the side of the thigh. It doesn’t matter if you inject the epinephrine into the left or right thigh. Hold it there with the needle in the leg and count to ten.
Take the EpiPen out after ten seconds. Massage the leg around the injection site. If the victim is worse in five to ten minutes see if they have a second auto-injector (EpiPen). Even if they are feeling better, they should still seek medical attention to be sure everything is okay.
So now you know how to handle an allergic reaction in a calm and collected manner. You just might end up saving someone's life!