EMS Beat: Allergy season

By Albee Bockman, AEMT-P

“Tis’ the Season”

No, sorry, it’s not Christmas, folks.

But it is allergy season, where noses are sneezin’ and bees are bitin’!

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen or pet dander, or to certain foods. The immune system produces substances known as antibodies. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn’t. When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system’s reaction can cause you to have a runny nose or to sneeze, as well as itching, rashes, swelling, or even asthma. Treatment for these minor irritations may consist of oral or nasal antihistamines, topical ointments such as Calamine Lotion, or an inhaler.

Now, the severity of allergies varies from one person to another and can be minor as stated above, or much more severe. A severe reaction is called “Anaphylaxis,” an allergic reaction to bee stings, medications, foods such as peanut butter, shelled fish, etc.

Please heed: Anaphylaxis is a true emergency! It is life threatening and requires immediate attention.

The first signs of anaphylaxis may look like typical allergy symptoms. But within 30 minutes, more serious signs appear such as wheezing, tightness in the chest, and swollen lips and tongue.

As it progresses, one becomes confused, lethargic, and develops severe respiratory distress.

Unless Paramedics with medication such as injectable Epinephrine, oxygen and intravenous therapy respond, death may be imminent! I cannot stress enough the importance of calling 911 and having Paramedics respond to your call forthwith! Time is of the essence!

As I have said in the past, my goal is to “enlighten and not frighten” you. We need to be aware of the dangers around us at all times. I hope this information has been helpful.

Be well and safe, Hurleyville!