Every year in the United States, between 400 and 800 deaths are caused by severe allergic reactions. A person can die very quickly from an anaphylactic reaction, but it can often be prevented if recognized early.
Signs of an anaphylactic reaction include:
- Stomach cramps
- Trouble breathing
If you notice these signs, you should do the following:
- Check the person’s airway and breathing.
- Call 911 if they are having difficulty breathing.
- Help the person to the most comfortable position for breathing.
- Try to keep the person calm.
Many people that have severe reactions carry an anaphylaxis kit/Epi-pen. This contains a single dose of epinephrine. The steps to use an Epi-pen are as follows:
- Locate the middle of the thigh or upper arm (may be given through clothes) to use as an injection site
- Remove the cover
- Firmly push the tip against the thigh/arm until it clicks
- Hold on thigh approximately ten seconds to deliver medication
- Massage the injection site for several seconds
- Seek emergency medical attention
Source: First Aid/CPR/AED for Schools and the Community from the American Red Cross
Written by : Kim Scharschmidt, RN BSN
Clinical Educator W/I
Staff and Organizational Development at Agnesian HealthCare