• What’s Itching You? Treating Allergic Reactions

    September 13, 2011 | Joseph Alton MD
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    Crisis Medicine and Allergies

    Allergic reactions can come in many forms. Allergies are a hypersensitivity of the immune system.  Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin and is an allergic reaction to specific allergens ( a substance that can cause an allergy). Symptoms are itching, redness, swelling, hives and a rash. Poison oak and poison ivy are contact dermatitis conditions. Contact dermatitis makes up 80% of cases. Eczema is also an example of dermatitis.

    Allergens may also be airborne and cause hay fever or asthma. The symptoms appear in the eyes, nose or lungs. Hay fever may cause sneezing, itchy and/or watery eyes and runny nose. Asthma causes narrowing of the airways, excessive mucus production in the lungs and difficulty breathing.

    What Causes Allergic Reactions?

    Allergic reactions can also be a result of food or medication, and insect stings. These sometimes result in  symptoms called anaphylaxis, which requires immediate treatment. Multiple organs are usually affected and may cause skin reactions, constricted breathing, swelling, low blood pressure, coma and even death. The onset of symptoms can be sudden and severe.

    If you or a family member has been told by a physician to always have an epipen nearby, make sure you have an extra one in your BOB and one for the home medical kit. If an allergic reaction begins immediately inject the victim with the epipen as directed. Monitor symptoms closely, especially breathing. Keep the patient calm and warm.

    Some allergic reactions, like hay fever, are annoying, but are not  life-threatening. Antihistamines provide relief of itching, hives, sneezing, shortness of breath and wheezing. Have claritin 10mg on hand for non-drowsy, mild allergic treatment. Benadryl 25-50mg adult dosage is for more severe allergic reactions and will cause sleepiness in adults, or in lower doses for children they may cause hyperactivity in kids.

    Some people confuse expectorants and decongestants for antihistamines. Expectorants, like guaifensin, loosen lung and chest congestion so your body can cough it up more easily. Decongestants, like sudafed, loosen and dry up nasal passages so you can breathe easier through your nose. They also help with sinus headaches to relieve pressure and pain.

    There are many natural remedies for allergies. Essential oils like: Blue tansy, German and Roman chamomile, wintergreen, lavender, eucalyptus, and ginger. Herbs such as: licorice root, nettle and St. John’s wort. Use the essential oils by massaging 2 drops into the temples 2-4 times daily or by inhalation for 15 minutes every 2 hours. Herbs may be taken as capsules or as a tea.

    Each essential oil or herb treat different symptoms. Learn what natural remedies you need for your allergic reaction and use them wisely. Essential oils are very concentrated and the dosage is only a couple of drops.

    When preparing for a collapse situation you should always be learning about natural remedies for medical issues. Obtain a quality reference book for essential oils and natural remedies, a comprehensive medical library may be the difference between life and death. If the pharmacies are closed and you have run out of medicine, then your backyard and garden will be the resource for “medications”.

    Antihistamines and allergy treatments (medical or natural) are a vital part of your medical kit for emergencies.

    Nurse Amy

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    Bug Out Bag Medical Kit with Natural Remedies
    Natural First Aid Kit Part 2: Essential Oils continued