I love gardening. Spending time outside on the farm growing vegetables and what I love most—tending my ever increasing flower beds. Unfortunately, there’s a buzz that comes with the blooms. And while I understand the importance of bees and their pollinating job, their buzz always reminds me of my first sting when I was eight.
As I was doing some research for this article I had focused on anaphylactic shock as a result of a sting from a bee or wasp. There’s more to the story. Other allergens can cause anaphylaxis too, and it’s an issue that affects about 7% of our Canadian population.
What is anaphylaxis (pronounced anna-fill-axis)?
Anaphylactic reactions are caused by a negative response to an allergen. In addition to insect bites and stings, allergens may be medications, latex, certain foods and exercise (imagine that!) There are 2.5 million Canadians dealing with over 200 recognized allergens. Approximately 3500 of those people experience anaphylactic shock each year.
Please let your co-workers know about your allergies.
Symptoms of Allergic Reaction:
- Skin—hives, swelling, itching, warmth, redness, rash
- Breathing—coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain, throat tightness, hoarse voice, hay-fever like symptoms, trouble swallowing, nasal congestion
- Stomach—nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
- Heart—weak pulse, pale/blue skin color, passing out,dizzy/lightheaded, shock
- Other—anxiety, feeling of “impending doom”, headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste
- Trouble Breathing—the airway is swelling (also happens in asthma attacks)
- A Drop in Blood Pressure—the person feels dizzy, light-headed, faint or weak or passes out
First Aid for Anaphylactic Shock
- Assist the person with their Epi-Pen (or Allerject) at the first signs of allergic reaction. Don’t delay!
- Call 911 (Your friend needs medical assistance immediately!)
- Assist with a second dose of epinephrine in 5-15min IF the reaction continues or worsens.
- Go to the hospital even if the symptoms are mild or have stopped. Someone who has experienced anaphylactic shock should be observed in hospital for 4 hours.
- Call their emergency contact person (parent, spouse, friend).
P.S If you have asthma or allergies and you’re regularly more than 15 minutes from medical care it may be a good idea to invest in an Epi-Pen. Just in case.
P.P.S At www.canadadrugs.com I saw Epi-Pens for $246.33. A prescription is required
The Argyle Sweater