Allergic Reactions - What are the Signs and How to Help?

An allergic reaction is when the body’s defence system (the immune system) reacts abnormally to a normally harmless 'trigger'. Someone experiencing an allergic reaction might find they suffer from mild itching from a red raised rash, swelling (the hands, feet and face are most commonly affected by this), wheezing or possible abdominal pain/vomiting and/or diarrhoea. 

The common allergy triggers in people are: 

  • Pollen 
  • Dust  
  • Nuts 
  • Shellfish 
  • Eggs 
  • Insect stings (usually wasp or bee stings) 
  • Latex 
  • Certain medications 

This list is only a few allergens that people can react to, there are many more you may come across. 


What to do

Follow the steps below:

Step 1

Assess the person’s signs and symptoms and ask if they have any allergies.

Step 2 

If you can, remove the trigger if possible, or move the casualty away from whatever is triggering the allergen.

Step 3

Most of the symptoms of an allergic reaction can be treated by medication. If the person has experienced this sort of a reaction before then they may have their medication on them, which is usually an anti-histamine, and they should take this as soon as possible.

Step 4

If this is the person’s first reaction or you are concerned about their condition then you should seek medical advice, this can be from your nearest pharmacist, calling NHS Direct, or speaking to a doctor. 

For advice on anaphylactic shock, click here.

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