Steps that Save Lives

Steps that Save Lives

The Symptoms

Signs of a serious food allergy reaction – known as anaphylaxis – are 2 or more of the following after eating a suspect food:

  • Hives, itching and/or skin redness
  • Swelling of the tongue, lips or throat
  • Breathing difficulty, wheezing or coughing
  • Stomach cramps or vomiting or diarrhea
  • Feeling faint / drop in blood pressure (If only this 1 symptom, it is still anaphylaxis.)

Urgent Action

In Anaphylaxis:
  1. Use the auto-injector right away.
  2. Call 911 and report a food allergy emergency.

Epinephrine shots are given via the auto-injector to the outer thigh muscle. This is considered a very safe drug. Antihistamines are acceptable as secondary medication only. They won’t halt anaphylaxis. Allergists say: err on the side of using the auto-injector.

Time is of the Essence

In studies of those who have died of anaphylaxis, they did not receive an epinephrine injection, or they got it too late, after a reaction had progressed. In anaphylaxis, prompt use of the shot is always essential.

Go to the Hospital

A person who had an emergency epinephrine shot must be taken to hospital for observation. During transport, IF symptoms have not improved within 10 to 15 minutes, a second auto-injection should be given.

Reclining is Best

During the ambulance ride, the person having the serious reaction should be lying down, with the legs raised (this improves blood flow). NIAID guidelines recommend the patient receive oxygen and IV fluid.

Don’t Go It Alone

No person should be expected to be fully responsible for self-administration of an epinephrine auto-injector. Assistance during anaphylaxis is crucial.

From allergicliving.com. Based on guidelines from NIAID and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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diagnosis, or treatment with a licensed physician.
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