The emergency set
The emergency set for allergy sufferers consists of three medicines that are available separately or are prescribed by a doctor: Adrenaline auto-injector Antihistamine (drops, juice or tablets) Cortisone (juice, tablets or suppositories) Adrenaline: The effect of adrenaline sets in very quickly, it normalises heart function, increases blood pressure and thus leads to a stabilisation of the circulation. It also has a relaxing effect on the muscles of the bronchi, making it easier to breathe. Antihistamine: The antihistamine is mainly used to combat the allergic reaction.
Cortisone: Cortisone possibly counteracts reactions that occur later. If asthma or shortness of breath is known to occur in allergic reactions, those affected should also carry an emergency asthma spray or add it to the emergency kit. The asthma spray also improves breathing by relaxing the respiratory muscles and dilating the airways.
- Adrenaline auto-injector
- Antihistamine (drops, juice or tablets)
- Cortisone (juice, tablets or suppositories)
An emergency kit for a severe allergy, for example an allergy to bee or wasp stings, should consist of components that can be used quickly and easily in the event of a severe and sometimes life-threatening allergic reaction (“anaphylactic shock“). These usually include at least an adrenaline pre-injection (“epipen”), an antihistamine and a drug containing cortisone. The epipen should be easy to use.
In some cases, it may therefore be useful to have practised the application with a simulation device beforehand. Antihistamines are regularly used to treat mild allergic reactions, but in higher doses they are also effective in anaphylactic shock. Cortisone should be given in high doses to weaken the immune response responsible for the allergic shock. With both the antihistamine and the cortisone preparation, care should be taken to ensure that it can be taken without water – i.e. that it can be administered in drops.
Use of the emergency set
The use of the emergency set is simple and feasible for everyone. However, it is best to ask your general practitioner or allergologist to explain the operation of the adrenaline auto-injector using a trial device, and to have precise instructions for taking the other drugs documented in the form of an anaphylaxis passport. Reduce the risk of anaphylaxis Important principle: Recognize – Counteract – Remember Recognize: The most effective protection against severe allergic reactions is to know exactly what triggers them and what the first symptoms are.
In addition, factors that have a mitigating or reinforcing effect on the reaction are also crucial. Counteract: In case of an allergic reaction, quick action is required to prevent serious complications. Important here: The emergency set should always be kept within easy reach, for children the parents should carry the set with them: Family, friends, work colleagues, school, kindergarten.
This includes: what the allergy is to, what the first symptoms and signs of an allergic reaction are, how others can help in an emergency Carrying an anaphylaxis passport (available from your family doctor or the German Allergy and Asthma Association) Regularly check the medication or its expiry date in the emergency set Practice using the emergency set (especially the adrenaline auto-injector) Remember If an allergic reaction/anaphylaxis has been overcome, every little detail of how the reaction occurred should be remembered in order to learn from it and avoid similar situations in the future. In addition, food allergy sufferers should seek nutritional advice. – The emergency set should always be kept within easy reach, for children the parents should carry the set with them
- The environment should be informed about the allergy: Family, friends, co-workers, school, kindergarten. – This includes: what the allergy is to, what the first symptoms and signs of an allergic reaction are, how others can help in an emergency
- Carry an anaphylaxis passport with you (available from your family doctor or the German Allergy and Asthma Association)
- Regular control of the drugs or their expiry dates in the emergency set
- Practice the use of the emergency set (especially the adrenaline auto-injector)