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posted by: LIT First Aid on: February 27, 2020

Photo by Brandon Nickerson


School is back in full swing from the holidays, posing the threat of kids sharing holiday treats and snacks made with common allergens. Although many primary schools now adopt a nut-free policy, it is difficult to fully guarantee all snacks and foods are completely free of nuts, let alone free of numerous other allergens. Allergic reactions can pose as an inconvenience to some and a severely deadly threat to others. 


Be prepared to handle all sorts of allergic reactions by first educating yourself about the common symptoms and the treatments. One's particular reaction is dependent on the type of allergy. For example, people with food allergies may experience sneezing, skin irritation, hives, shortness of breath, dizziness, etc. By comparison, someone with an environmental allergy will have a runny nose and watery, bloodshot eyes. 


Parts of the body that are involved in an allergic reaction include your:

  • airways
  • nose
  • skin
  • mouth
  • digestive system

Serious allergic reactions can cause anaphylaxis, which can lead to loss of consciousness, respiratory distress, and cardiac arrest—if left untreated.


Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • hives, itching, or pale skin
  • trouble breathing
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • facial swelling
  • nausea
  • weak and fast pulse

Responses to anaphylaxis

If you see someone who’s experiencing anaphylaxis, you should:

  1. Call 911
  2. Check for an epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector (EpiPen) and assist them, if needed.
  3. Turn the person on their back
  4. Turn them on their side if they’re vomiting or bleeding.
  5. Loosen their clothing so they can breathe.

The person must receive epinephrine as soon as possible and it is important to learn how to inject epinephrine, for situations like this.



If the person experiencing anaphylaxis isn't breathing, coughing or moving, you may have to administer Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. CPR can be performed until emergency help arrives. To learn how to apply CPR and other first-aid procedures, sign up for a course with L.I.T. First Aid and Lifeguard Training, to ensure you're prepared for any situation.

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