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  Malaysian Society of Allergy & Immunology (MSAI)
 
  Treating Allergy:  

  Allergic Emergency

Whenever a person experiences a sudden and rapid onset reaction when in contact with an allergen, this reaction is called an 'Allergic Emergency'. Whenever such a reaction is accompanied by a drop in blood pressure, it is called 'Anaphylactic Shock'; this constitutes a short-term health risk (life-threatening) and demands immediate care.

It is an immediate hypersensitivity reaction or a Type I response. Such a sudden reaction is due to the massive release of histamine by the mast cells. Symptoms are those of allergy together with a fall in blood pressure. The signs occur within a few minutes following contact with the allergen. This reaction can occur in patients of all ages.

In such a situation, it is necessary to act quickly and calmly. It is very important to reassure the person and to be effective in calling for Emergency First Aid.

It is necessary to implement First Aid Procedures, i.e.:


  • protect the person:
    have the person sit down or lie down in a place AWAY FROM ANY HAZARD, remove anything that can hinder his/her breathing (for example, clothing that is too tight or a foreign object in the mouth) and raise his/her legs

  • call the emergency
    medical services, paramedics, calling the fire department or the Mobile Medical Emergency Services

  • stay with the person
    in distress while waiting for help to arrive


The person will be treated by a physician and then brought to a specialized center in the case of an allergic emergency.

If the person has taken a medicinal product or eaten a meal before the accident, the following should be done:
  • keep the box of medicinal products.
  • record the menu that the person has eaten.
  • store the remainder of any food in the freezer.
  • keep labels from food packages.


    If the incident involves an insect sting or bite, it is necessary to determine which insect was involved (for instance, a wasp, bee, hornet, horsefly, etc.) and to remove the stinger if it is still stuck in the person's skin.

    After emergency treatment, consultation with an allergologist is necessary to determine all the circumstances which occurred prior to the event, from a few minutes to a few hours before. It is essential to find the agent that has triggered this sudden reaction and then to perform tests.

    Safety measures involve the carrying of an allergy card which mentions the agents to which the person is allergic, listing the agents to be avoided and informing of emergency therapy to be administered.

    If the event was serious and if a contact with this allergen is likely, then the patient should constantly have on their person or close by an emergency medical kit.  
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