The Real Dangers of Allergic Reactions

We often think of health and safety in terms of sky high building regulations or how to get out if there is a fire. However, some of the most dangerous and frightening health and safety situations can happen when you are at home or out in town and would never think that it is needed.

Take for example, allergies. Plant, animal and food allergies are much more common than many of us realise. An estimated 8% of children suffer from food allergies and it is important to teach them and be aware of it yourself how to deal with these reactions, especially when the child is away from home.

Nut allergic reactions are very serious, but any kind of food allergy can be, and can most commonly show in four different areas of the body: the skin, gastrointestinal, respiratory, and cardiovascular. If the reaction shows on the skin, then the person suffering the allergy will show rashes, eczema, red blotches and redness of the skin. This is the most common form of reaction. Gastrointestinal symptoms can be in the form of cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. With respiratory reactions, it can often seem like typical ‘allergies’ that people speak of when experiencing hay fever, ranging from a runny nose to asthma attacks. And lastly, cardiovascular symptoms result in feeling light headed and even fainting.

The reaction to be most aware of is anaphylaxis which is where the throat and airways swell and inhibit the person from breathing. Almost half of these incidents have been caused by an intake of nuts that patients have been allergic to. In this situation, an ambulance needs to be called immediately. If the person is unconscious then it is best to lay them down and lift their feet while waiting for help, and if they are conscious and it is available, an adrenaline shot needs to be administered as soon as possible.

The best form of safety is to avoid such situations by ensuring that if you are allergic to a food, that you have the necessary medication on you in case of an accident. Children need to wear some form of tag or bracelet to make others aware of their allergy. If you are allergic to nuts, stay away from any contact with nuts as the body can recognise nut protein faster than other foods and can therefore react much worse.

Is prioritizing safety an inconvenience?