FIRST AID: Dealing with allergic reactions

CAP: St John Ambulance gives advice on how to treat an allergic reaction
CAP: St John Ambulance gives advice on how to treat an allergic reaction
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St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity has teamed up with the Portsmouth News to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips.

This week – recognising and dealing with allergic reactions.

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to an allergen or trigger substance. One of the most common allergens is plant pollen which often causes hay fever. Other allergens include animal hair, bee stings, medication (especially penicillin) and food such as nuts and shellfish.

Allergies develop when the body has an abnormal immune response to a normally harmless substance and mistakes it for a threat, like an infection, and tries to fight it off.

What to look for

n Red blotchy, itchy skin

n Red itchy eyes or nose

n Difficulty in breathing

n Swelling of hands, feet or face

n Abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea

What to do

1. Assess the casualty’s signs and symptoms and ask if they have a known allergy.

2. Remove the trigger or move the casualty away from the trigger as soon as possible.

3. Treat the symptoms and encourage the casualty to take the medication for their allergy.

4. If you’re worried about the casualty’s condition then seek medical assistance.

For quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and sja.org.uk – which also offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice. For more information call 0303 003 0101.