What do you do if someone experiences a severe allergic reaction in the wild?

Bees are necessary for the pollination of various plants, but these industrious workers can be very dangerous to people who are allergic to bee stings.

While there are several ways to deal with allergic reactions, what do you do if they occur when you’re out in the wild? (h/t to BeansBulletsBandagesAndYou.com.)

What is anaphylactic shock?

Anaphylactic shock is a kind of allergic reaction, and it is a medical emergency that can quickly become fatal if not addressed immediately. During anaphylaxis, the immune system releases chemicals that flood the body, which can cause anaphylactic shock.

If a victim goes into anaphylactic shock, their blood pressure will suddenly drop and their airways will narrow. This can make it difficult to breathe properly. The symptoms of anaphylaxis will set in before anaphylactic shock begins.

Other signs of anaphylaxis may include difficulty swallowing, skin reactions (e.g., hives, flushed skin, or paleness), swollen tongue or lips, and wheezing, to name a few.

Once anaphylaxis has progressed to anaphylactic shock, the symptoms can include confusion, dizziness, loss of consciousness, and a sudden feeling of weakness.

Anaphylaxis is triggered when you are exposed to an allergen (something that you are allergic to). The allergen will make your immune system overreact, and this will cause anaphylaxis that can turn into anaphylactic shock.

Some common triggers for anaphylaxis may include:

  • Certain medications (e.g., penicillin)
  • Food (e.g. eggs, milk, shellfish, or peanuts)
  • Insect stings (e.g., bees and wasps)

Dealing with anaphylactic shock

While most people deal with anaphylactic shock by using an EpiPen, this isn’t a viable option for everyone because these auto-injectors have become very expensive recently. Some EpiPens now cost around $600 or more.

An EpiPen contains adrenaline (or epinephrine). The injection will immediately address the symptoms of an active allergic reaction, like difficulty breathing and wheezing. However, EpiPens also have negative side effects, like anxiety, palpitations, and tremors.

It can be difficult to determine what causes anaphylaxis, especially since you won’t react with the symptoms of the condition the first time you encounter an allergen. It takes “training” to make the immune system that aggressive, and the anaphylactic allergic reaction may take you by surprise.

While the most common remedy for an anaphylactic reaction is using an EpiPen, this option may not be available for a prepper after SHTF.

If you experience the symptoms of anaphylactic shock, or you notice them in someone else, and you don’t have an EpiPen, here are some other options:

  • Rescue inhalers – These inhalers contain beta-2-adrenergic agonists, or drugs that simulate some of the critical functions of epinephrine. Advise the patient to use the inhaler if they have any respiratory symptoms.
  • Sting kits – Sting kits are easier to acquire since they don’t contain EpiPens, and they also include antiseptic wipes, a topical anesthetic to soothe stings/bites, and venom extractors.
  • Wilderness med packs – Some wilderness med packs may contain injectable epinephrine, but these med packs usually require a prescription. Always check the expiration dates on epinephrine because it can lose its potency quickly, especially in extremely hot conditions. Epinephrine can be injected into the muscle or under the skin, like the outer upper arm or the thigh, and 0.3 mg (milligrams) of epinephrine is often administered as a 1:1000 dilution. This means 0.3 mL (milliliters) is the usual dose injected. You can give additional doses after every five minutes, but only if the patient’s condition is getting worse, or 15 minutes if they’re not getting better.

People may have different reactions to anaphylactic shock. Some reactions may subside after less than an hour and other cases may persist for several hours. At least 30 percent of cases are biphasic, meaning there is a spike in the symptoms. They may recede for some time then recur after 72 hours.

If the attack is triggered by a bee sting, remove the stinger immediately so it doesn’t inject more of its venom. Scrape the sting site with a dull knife blade, a credit card, tweezers, or your fingernails. Avoid squeezing the stinger bulb.

If the patient’s skin is exposed to an allergen, cool and elevate the exposure site to slow the entry of the protein and reduce the intensity of an allergic reaction. Make sure the patient is in the right body position so they can breathe properly. If the patient is having trouble breathing, get them to sit upright or at an incline. Paleness and sweating indicate a circulation problem, so keep their legs raised above the level of the heart to improve blood flow.

If you’re aware of your allergens, avoid them at all costs to prevent anaphylactic shock. When venturing in an area with bees, hornets, or wasps, don’t swat and agitate them.

Check your boots before putting them on because queen wasps tend to nest in cavities. Keep all drink containers covered, especially when in bee territory. Wear white or shirts in solid colors because bees aren’t as attracted to them, unlike floral prints. Bees are also attracted to deodorants, scented body care products, and sweat (to a lesser extent).

These tips may help you deal with anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock when you’re outdoors. For more tips on how to deal with allergic reactions, visit Healing.news.

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