ForJodie Project - Family First Aid

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Allergic reactions and Anaphylaxis treatment

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Allergies and Anaphylaxis: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Allergies

Allergies are adverse reactions that occur when the body responds to specific foods or environmental substances. These reactions are triggered by substances known as allergens. Common allergens include pollen, latex, nuts, eggs, and pet dander.

How Allergies Develop

Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to allergens as if they were harmful invaders. The immune system produces antibodies to combat these allergens, leading to an immune response. Upon subsequent exposure, the body produces more antibodies, causing the release of chemicals that result in an allergic reaction.

Common Allergic Disorders

Allergies can manifest as various disorders, including:

  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Hay Fever

Symptoms of allergies can range from sneezing and coughing to skin rashes. The nature of symptoms depends on the type of allergen exposure.

Understanding Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can affect the respiratory system and become life-threatening. Anaphylaxis can result from allergen exposure through ingestion, inhalation, skin contact, or injections (e.g., bee stings).

Allergic reactions vary in severity, including sensitivity (exaggerated normal side effects) and intolerance (unpleasant symptoms unrelated to the immune system). Anaphylactic reactions are the most severe and require immediate medical attention.

Treatment for Anaphylaxis

Treatment for anaphylaxis often involves the use of auto-injectors, which deliver a pre-set dose of adrenaline to reduce symptoms until emergency help arrives.

Common signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction include:

  • Itchy skin or raised red rash
  • Swelling of eyes, lips, hands, or feet
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Narrowing of airways (wheezing, breathing difficulties)
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Eventually collapsing and unconsciousness

Anaphylaxis should always be treated as a medical emergency. If you suspect an anaphylactic reaction, dial 999 for an ambulance immediately.

Types of Auto-Injectors

Auto-injectors are prescribed by doctors and are not available over the counter. Individuals may have multiple auto-injectors, as a second dose can be administered if needed.

Three common auto-injector brands include:

  • EpiPen
  • Emerade
  • Jext

Instructions for each auto-injector are clearly printed on the unit.

Using Auto-Injectors

While instructions may vary, general steps for using auto-injectors include:

  • Remove the safety cap
  • Administer the injection into the thigh
  • Hold in place for a specified time
  • Ensure proper diffusion of adrenaline (rub the area if necessary)

After administering adrenaline, keep the person still and await emergency services. Hand over used auto-injectors to assist with medical care.

Learning Outcomes:
  • IPOSi Unit four LO6.1, 6.2 & 6.3