Allergy Emergency

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allergy-emergencyAllergy emergencies are not common and they are rarely fatal. They are generally not dangerous; that is, they are not poisons, pathogenic organisms (such as viruses or bacteria) or radiation.  Allergic emergencies are those associated with the classic allergy diseases such as asthma, hay fever, food allergies, hives and eczema as well as reactions to foreign matter that may be inhaled, ingested, injected or absorbed by the skin. Such an allergic emergency is possible if a person has a family history of chronic allergies or experiences chronic allergy symptoms and/or has had at least one long-term allergy reaction and therefore;  should always exercise caution throughout their daily routines.

Those that do require immediate attention are anaphylaxis (a generalized shock-like reaction); laryngeal or tracheal edema (swelling of the windpipe); and severe asthma or bronchospasm. Epinephrine by injection is the drug of choice in all three emergencies. Although allergy emergencies may have numerous causes, a general knowledge of them can enable the allergy sufferer in preventing recurrences.  Here are the most common allergen catagories responsible for most allergy emergencies:

  • Foods (Shellfish, nuts, eggs, milk or dairy)
  • Drugs (Penicillin, sulfa, aspirin)
  • Inhalant Pollens (From grasses, weeds, trees)
  • Inhalant Dust (From house dust, mold spores, animal dander, feathers or insect parts)
  • Inhalant Chemicals (Isocyanates from polyurethane, formaldehydes, insecticides)
  • Skin Contact – Plants (Poison Ivy, sumac, primrose)
  • Skin Contact – Chemicals Nickel-plated jewelry, cosmetics, perfumes)
  • Injectants – Venom (Bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, fire ants)
  • Injectants – Drugs (Various medicines, vaccines, x-ray dyes, allergy extracts)

Self-treatment measures are available to provide relief until more extensive medical attention can be obtained.Allergy emergencies can be treated successfully and some can often be prevented. Unlike some injuries and certain illnesses, the outlook for complete recovery from an allergy emergency is good if prepared steps are taken early on.

An epinephrine injector pen (Epi-Pen) should be kept within reach of a person who is at high-risk for an allergy emergency. These life-saving injector pens must be changed out regularly according to the expiration date stamped clearly on each unit. Chronic allergy sufferers should have more than one pen at all times for convenience.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Related Posts: Food Allergies, Shellfish Allergies.

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