Living Without Fear: Allergy Awareness Week in the UK

By | 2017-09-29T09:29:49+00:00 April 22nd, 2015|Categories: Awareness, Everyday Health|Tags: , |0 Comments

 

Whether it’s sniffly noses, scratchy eyes, or an itchy patch of skin, most of us have experienced allergies at some point in our lives. Some have seasonal allergies like pollen, some have food allergies like peanuts, some have environmental allergies like dust, some have allergies to animals like cats or dogs. And that doesn’t even begin to cover all the possible allergens out in the world!

This year, Allergy UK wants everyone to live without fear.

Over 150 million people suffer from allergies, just in Europe alone. Allergy UK estimates that out of all allergy sufferers, nearly half are worried about a daily reaction and a staggering 1 in 5 people are living in fear of an asthma attack or anaphylaxis due to an allergen.

So that leads to the question: what should you do if you see someone having a severe allergic reaction like anaphylaxis? Shockingly, 66% of people have no idea. Let’s take a moment to learn about the symptoms of anaphylaxis and how to use an EpiPen.

What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can happen within seconds to minutes of an exposure to the allergen. The most common causes of anaphylaxis are food allergies, medication allergies, insect venom, or latex.

How do you recognize anaphylaxis?

Allergy UK is starting the campaign “living in FEAR” of allergy attacks and also “recognize the FEAR” as a clever way of spotting the symptoms of anaphylaxis:

Face – Is there swelling in the face or lips? Have they gone pale? Are they lightheaded?

Eyes – Are their eyes red, watery, and puffy? Is there a look of fear or panic in their eyes?

Airways – Are they wheezing or coughing? Is there shortness of breath? Are they unable to talk?

Rash – Is there a red, raised, itchy rash anywhere on their body, especially on their face or neck? Are there hives anywhere on the body?

Some other signs include: fast heartbeat, weak pulse, cramping, nausea, vomiting, or fainting.

If they’re showing a combination of any of these signs, administer an EpiPen right away and call for medical attention (112 or 999 in the UK, 911 in the US) immediately.

How do you use an EpiPen?

An EpiPen, or EpiPen Jr for kids, is the most common form of epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector for allergic reactions. Other brands include Jext and Emerade.

These pens are designed as an easy way to give a single dose of epinephrine in case of an emergency. The pen should be injected into the middle outer thigh, even if it is through clothing. It should NOT be injected veins, chest, fingers, toes, buttocks, hands, or feet!

Visit the EpiPen website for a video on how to properly use an EpiPen and more information.

Or visit the Allergy UK website for more information on the other injector brands and tutorials on how to use them.

 


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About the Author:

Lina Hu is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Davis in the department of Biomedical Engineering. Her thesis centers on discovering molecular imaging probes for earlier cancer detection and better treatment planning. Throughout her time at UC Davis, she has collaborated with both domestic and international groups and successfully led and participated in team-based projects that have resulted in multiple academic journal publications and presentations at scientific conferences around the country.

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