Allergies, Antahistamine and Epi-pens
Posted by: old_user on Apr-03-07 12:16 PM (EST)
Greetings from Lena Conlan. At WMI of NOLS (the Wilderness Medicine Institute) we teach that as long as a person who is experiencing an allergic reaction can speak, swollow and drink by themselves they shall take antihistamin. It is the Antihistamine that will save their life (in the long run) if they have an allergic reaction. Anyone can buy Benedryl, Clarityn, Cetrizine or any other type of Antihistamin meds over the counter at farmacies in the USA. The patient should take the recommended dose on the bottle.
If the person can't talk, can't swollow or drink (i.e they can not swollow the Antihistamines tablettes) and the airway starts to close up then the adrenaline / the epineherine needs to be given to the patient. Epi-pens are prescription only and the patient should administrar the shot themselves. The medications inside the Epi-pen will open up the airway temporarily. As soon as the patient can breathe, swollow and drink the Antihistamine should be taken. The Epi-pen will only save life for a short time. Without the Antihistamines the airway will close up again and most of us only have two shots of Epi along.
If you guide or are in charge of a group in the outdoors then knowing what participants might be allergic to is really important. If someone says that they have experienced severe reactions then these folks should have both Antihistamine and Epi-pens with them.
If you guide for a living or lead others who pay you for a trip then I highly recommend that you take a Wilderness First Aid course and learn more about this. We can all have Antihistamine in our first aid kits but in order to have an Epi-pen along we need prescription from a Medical doctor who maybe also could sign off as your Medical Advisor.
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