Allergy awareness week

Ambulance side shot

Last week was allergy awareness week!

Hosted by Allergy UK and in its 25th year, the campaign this year focuses on what it’s like having an allergy in 2016, compared to 25 years ago.

From our point of view, the number of incidents of allergic reactions continues to rise. The most common triggers with reactions are food, drugs and venom, but in 30% of cases the trigger is unknown.

Symptoms for reactions range from mild to life- threatening (anaphylaxis) and include:

  • angio-oedema (swelling of the face, eyelids, lips and tongue)
  • stridor
  • dyspnoea
  • wheeze
  • hypoxia
  • tachycardia
  • hypotension
  • urticaria (hives)

Patients who have had previous episode may wear ‘medic alert’ bracelets/ necklets, carry an epi pen and may experience panic attacks. 

The key points to think about include: 

  • Remove from trigger if possible
  • Anaphylaxis can occur despite a long history of previously safe exposure to a potential trigger
  • Consider anaphylaxis in the presence of acute cutaneous symptoms and airway or cardiovascular comprise
  • Anaphylaxis may be rapid, slow or biphasic
  • Adrenaline is key in managing anaphylaxis
  • The benefit of using appropriate doses of adrenaline far exceeds any risk.

Check out the JRCALC or Resus Council Guidelines for more information and full pathways.

Published 4th May, 2016

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