First aid for anaphylactic shock involves taking immediate action to help the affected person while waiting for emergency medical services to arrive.
Anaphylaxis needs emergency first aid. The first line treatment is injection of adrenaline (epinephrine) into the outer mid-thigh. Do not allow the person to stand or walk. Give further doses of adrenaline if there is no response after 5 minutes.
If you suspect someone is experiencing anaphylaxis, follow these steps:
- Call for emergency medical assistance: Dial emergency services right away (such as 911 in the United States) and explain the situation. Inform them that you suspect anaphylaxis and provide the location.
- Help the person to lie down: Have the person lie flat on their back. If they have difficulty breathing, you can assist them in sitting up to ease their breathing, but be mindful of any potential dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Administer epinephrine (if available): If the person has been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen), help them use it according to the instructions provided. Epinephrine helps reverse the allergic response and can be life-saving. It is typically injected into the thigh muscle.
- Loosen tight clothing: Remove any tight clothing around the neck or chest area to help improve breathing and blood circulation.
- Monitor the person’s vital signs: Keep an eye on their breathing, pulse, and level of consciousness. If they become unresponsive or their breathing or heartbeat stops, be prepared to perform CPR.
- Offer reassurance and comfort: Stay with the person, provide reassurance, and keep them calm. Anxiety and stress can worsen the symptoms of anaphylaxis.
It’s important to note that while providing first aid, the definitive treatment for anaphylaxis is emergency medical care. Paramedics or other healthcare professionals can provide additional treatments, such as antihistamines, corticosteroids, intravenous fluids, and oxygen therapy.
Remember, each situation is unique, and it’s crucial to follow the specific instructions given by healthcare providers, allergists, or emergency services. Regular follow-up with an allergist or immunologist is recommended to evaluate the cause of the reaction, adjust treatment plans, and provide guidance on future management of anaphylaxis.