Three simple steps to save a life. To save YOUR life!
Always ask about allergies
Be a hero!
Adopt the superhero power of #easytoASK.
Holiday season brings festive meals, exciting evenings out and blissful weekends away. To an allergy sufferer, the vast minefield of potential harm can be nothing short of terrifying! The sheer array of food and activities could be concealing an allergy gremlin they’re REALLY not friends with. Allergic reactions can strike anyone with an unwelcome surprise.
So how do you use your super power? Every time you are out, use the #easytoASK acronym. Ask if a companion has any allergies, or speak up if you do! Be aware of the allergy gremlins that hide in bushes and in restaurant dishes. Ask restaurant staff about potential allergens in your meal. If you work in a restaurant, ask customers about allergies, and inform them of common allergens like nuts, seafood, grains, flour, eggs and dairy. Keep safe.
Being part of the #easytoASK social movement when you’re out and about makes you a hero. Why? You’re saving the lives of those who are too scared or timid to ask about allergens. You’re blowing up the minefields of gremlins and fear, and enabling everyone to confidently have some holiday fun! No to mention, you’re potentially saving yourself from unwelcome surprises.
When allergy gremlins strike, they can cause your body to go into Anaphylaxis (pronounced ana-fill-ax-is). This is a severe allergic reaction that causes your body to go into distress, called Anaphylactic Shock. Basically, your immune system goes into overdrive!
A simple food, smell, material, medication, exercise, insect sting or even an entirely unknown allergen can set off this dramatic, potentially fatal, chain of events.
You may not always be aware you’re allergic to something until you’ve had a reaction. Even people with known allergies can suddenly develop new allergies.
Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds, or sometimes even hours later. It is life threatening, and requires instant treatment.
Related BBC News article - Why the world is becoming more allergic to food
Severe allergic reactions could include any of the following:
Skin could become bright pink, swell and/or develop a rash.
The mouth and throat could swell up causing wheezing, or difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing.
The person could feel dizzy, faint and weak, and could even collapse unconscious.
They may experience stomach ache, feel nauseous or vomit.
They may feel clammy, and could feel confused and anxious.
Severe asthma could occur.
If you or someone else exhibits any one or more of these symptoms, they could be experiencing Anaphylaxis. Don’t hesitate, react right away!
If you or a companion has a severe allergic reaction, it is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.
Call 999 immediately! Don’t wait! The situation can turn dire in minutes.
1) Use an Adrenaline auto-injector at once
It is sometimes called Epinephrine (EpiPen®, Emerade® or Jext®)
Be sure you know how to use it (remove cap, 10cm from upper outer thigh muscle, jab at 90 deg, hold for 3 seconds)
If in doubt, give adrenalin first, then call for help.
2) Call 999 ➜ ask for an ambulance ➜ say “Anaphylaxis”
3) Remove any allergic triggers if possible
4) Lay the person down
5) Give another injection after 5-15 minutes if there is no initial response
It is always more desirable to prevent dramatic medical emergencies. So how do you go about achieving this?
Allergy tests can help with identifying any potential allergen triggers. It really makes life a lot easier if you know what to watch out for!
It goes without saying that if you can, avoid allergic triggers! If you have a specific food allergy, ask about the ingredients present in the food (and kitchen) every time you are about to order or eat something. Tell your dinner companions what you are allergic to, especially if someone else is ordering.
If you’re getting take-outs, ask if the allergen could be present. You can even ask the staff for alternative recommendations (they’ll love sharing their insider knowledge). You may even end up getting a lovely dish you’ve never considered before!
Always keep your adrenaline auto-injector with you! Always! If you have two, carry both. When in doubt, use them! If you suspect you could be having an allergic reaction, inject yourself to be safe. Remember to get yourself to a medical facility afterwards.
Ask for help if you suspect you have an allergy. Medical personnel can assist you to find products to manage it. Prevention is the best cure, don’t let an allergy situation reach emergency status if you can help it!
Call on your superpower, #easytoASK. Be the hero! Be the person that asks if someone in the group has allergies. Speak up, and keep you, your friends, your family, and the thousands of people that suffer Anaphylaxis safe.
Common allergy triggers
You may not always know what could cause an allergic reaction. Here are some of the common triggers to be aware of:
Food: nuts, dairy, seafood, eggs and some fruit
Medication: antibiotics, and even anti-inflammatories like aspirin
Insect stings: bees, wasps
Medical dyes (contrast agents) used in scans
Latex – rubber found in some gloves and condoms
You don’t need to be a genius, just use your superpower
You don’t need to know what can cause allergic reactions or every allergen under the sun
All you need to remember is your superpower: #easytoASK
Always ask about allergies
Whether you’re allergic or not, ordering food or serving it, a trail guide or teenager out on the town… Be the hero
On-line Allergy Awareness
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