First Aid: Allergic Reactions – Anaphylactic Shock

Participants enrolled in workplace approved childcare first aid training will learn about recognizing and providing care for patients with anaphylaxis, also known as allergic reactions. Anaphylaxis is a severe and often life-threatening allergic reaction. Allergic reactions are triggered when a patient is exposed to a substance or substances that the person’s immune system has become sensitive to. The body’s reaction to these substances causes it to release histamines which cause a number of different symptoms including a tightening of the patients airway. The allergic reaction can be sudden and rapid. People that have severe medical allergies typical wear bracelets or necklaces that identify the medical condition. Reactions can vary from mild to severe. The material posted on this page is for information purposes only. To learn to recognize and treat patients suffering from allergic reactions take a workplace approved childcare first aid course in a location near you. Our training providers are based throughout Canada in most major cities from Vancouver to Ottawa. Cities include Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina. Childcare first aid programs in Kelowna, British Columbia are also provided.

Using an Epinephrine Injector During an Allergic Reaction

People with severe allergic reacetions use an Epinephrine Injector During an Allergic Reaction

Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Reactions:

No two allergic reactions are identical. Each patient and each allergic reaction can vary. The signs and symptoms below may or may not occur during a allergic reaction. Many reactions first show signs on the patients back and visual signs usually start with hives or rashes. The following are the typical signs and symptoms for allergic reactions:

  • General itchiness
  • Red Rash
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lower level of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Cramping
  • Abdominal / Stomach pain
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Slurred Speech
  • Abnormal Heart Rhythm
  • Rapid Pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Swelling around the local area of infection
  • General Swelling around the face, eyes or neck
  • Physically Weak

Patient Care for Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions / anaphylaxis, are emergency situations that require immediate medical response. Rescuer(s) should contact emergency medical services (EMS) with the use of a bystander if possible. The rescuer should help the patient maintain a open airway, monitor vitals and treat with CPR if necessary. If the patient is conscious the rescuer can assist the patient with taking medication if they have it. The rescuer should not administer the medication and only assist the patient with taking. Common medication for anaphylaxis is a Epi-pen or Twin-Jet which carry doses of epinephrine (adrenaline).  The medication, if effective, will only reduce the symptoms for a short period of time so it is still necessary to contact EMS. Other medications include anti-histamines. Rescuer can place cold pack on the front of the neck and airway to help with swelling or difficulty breathing. If oxygen is available and the rescuer is trained to do so, he or she should help administer it.

To learn to recognize and treat patients with allergic reactions take a workplace approved childcare first aid course.

How to Use an Epinephrine Injector