December 2, 2016

A Life-Saving Item You Should Keep with You

Springtime

Apt Prepper Daughter was driving around with a friend, on their way to the beach.  It was a perfect spring day, with a nice breeze and low humidity so they drove with their windows down.

While stopped at a light, a bee suddenly flew into the car and stung Apt Prepper Daughter in the upper arm just as the light changed.  The sting didn’t hurt that much at first, but she pulled the car over and checked the site.  There was no stinger but she noticed the area was red and was rapidly swelling up like a golf ball.  She restarted the car and in a few minutes started to feel out of breath.  She was starting to feel difficulty breathing and her throat felt tight.  Her friend was talking to his mom on the cell phone at the time and they told her what happened.  She told them the rapid swelling shows Apt Prepper Daughter is allergic to bee stings; if they were anywhere near a store they need to immediately pick up some Benadryl and take it as soon as possible.  If they were not close then they’d need to call 911.  Fortunately, they were right by a Randall’s grocery and they got the Benadryl in time.  She felt immediate relief as soon as she took it.

This could have been a dangerous situation had they not been near a store.  I was thankful she was fine by the time she called me to tell me what happened.  But this got me to thinking what if there’s an emergency and you can’t just go to the market to buy Benadryl?   She had a few sensitivities as a child, but we never knew she was allergic to bee stings.  Apt Prepper Son got stung by a wasp at the apartment trash bin, and I gave him an antihistamine as a precaution, so we did not see any symptoms other than a few hives.

I told Apt Prepper Daughter to start keeping antihistamines in her purse for emergencies.  She already has a couple of pain relievers, Band-aids and of course water and food in her car.

It’s also a good idea to learn the difference between a mild reaction to a sting, and symptoms of insect sting allergy, also known as anaphylactic reaction:

What is a mild reaction to a sting?

  • Itching
  • Some redness
  • Mild swelling at the sting area
  • Slight pain in the area
  • Warming sensation
  • Small pimple from the bite

Symptoms of severe insect sting allergy:

  • Rapid swelling in the mouth, eyes, face or throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives and redness spreading beyond the sting area
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Rapid pulse
  • Loss of consciousness

With insects out in full force in the spring and summer, you just never know when such an emergency can happen.  If you are severely allergic, check with your doctor on what you should keep with you for such an emergency.  Even if you are not allergic, someone in your family or around you might be. Don’t leave out antihistamines from your mini first aid kit.

 

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12 Comments on A Life-Saving Item You Should Keep with You

  1. Good advice! There are more people than we would realize who are allergic to stings. A few years ago my wife had an allergic reaction to some shrimp at a restaurant. We thought that the shrimp was just not cooked correctly because she had eaten shrimp all her life. But it happened again soon after that. Thank goodness that she had it with her. So there is a potential that all of the sudden you could become allergic to something when you have been good with it your whole life.

    Peace,
    Todd

    • Hey Todd, That is remarkable that your wife had eaten shrimp for years and all of a sudden got an allergic reaction-proves that you just never know. Good thing she was prepared. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  2. Ive been a emt for 20 years, and a professional firefighter for 11.As Benadryl is not a rapid onset med taken orally , it could be life gambling taking oral Benadryl for wheezing from a narrowing airway as a result of a allergic (anaphalxis) reaction.If your are having difficulty breathing from a allergic reaction you need a shot (sub q ,or deep IM) to bring on rapid vaso constriction of 1-1000 epinephrine.Followed by a Benadryl shot .The point I am trying to make is that oral Benadryl for a true allergic reaction is too slow. Call 911, and or determine if you truly are allergic and get a scrip for a epi pin.Thank you for the read

    • highdesertlivin, Good to hear from an emt who has seen a lot of these. Thanks for the recommendation about the oral Benadryl, good to know. I appreciate the comment!

  3. I agree. If you have had difficulty breathing after a bee sting, you have a significant allergy and should get a prescription for an epi-pen and carry one at all times.

    That said, there are dissolve-on-your-tongue strips of Benadryl available OTC. These work quite quickly. In a life-threatening reaction, you want to have an epi-pen available, but these dissolvable strips are good in the early stages of a more moderate reaction.

  4. The above comment from the EMT is correct. My Daughter started to have a mild allergic reaction to an unknown substance. So we keep oral benadryl on hand for minor redness,itching and hives. But we also got a prescription for an epi-pen. They come three to a box, so we keep one in the car, at home and she keeps one with her. She is in school so we got extra’s so the nurse had one if needed. Dont take a chance with allergic reactions, keep stuff with you. JUST IN CASE !!

    • Hi Doug, That is a good plan, keeping one Epi-pen in each location. I should look into getting prescriptions for the kids. Thanks!

  5. Wife had an allergic reaction to something last weekend; severe enough that her blood pressure dropped to 77/50.
    At the E.R. as they pumped her fulled of epi, they also gave her a shot of Pepcid. Didn’t know it but it also acts as an antihistime (H2 instead of H1) except it doesn’t cause drowsiness in most people.

    The oral benadryl or dissolving strips are good ideas also.

  6. The thing about allergies is the reactions tend to get worse with each new exposure. This time the benedryl worked, but next time it might not, and same for your son. My wife has a bunch of food allergies so the shrimp thing didn’t surprise me. My wife had eaten tons of carrots with no problems when younger; now she even has a reaction from “beta carotene used for coloring” in a muffin, and a small fleck of carrot could be disastrous. More recently she’s developed an allergy to onions. She was eating something at a restaurant that normally has no onions but she asked and was assured there were none. There was green stuff sprinkled on the pasta that she thought was parsley, but was apparently chopped green onions. She started to have a reaction and we went home so she could take a benedryl (the stuff knocks her out). She is also allergic to insect stings and has epi-pens, but she was not carrying one at the time. They are like concealed carry – you have to do it all the time. If I knew I would need a gun, I’d stay home (or take a long gun and friends with more long guns). If you don’t have the pen with you, you may not get a second chance. Nothing to fool about with by any means. Best of luck to your kids with this.

  7. I agree with keeping Benadryl with you for those life threatening situations. You can also use Zantac 150mg tab as a two prong attack in case Benadryl is not enough. That’s what they give you when you go to the Emergency Room.

  8. wow, glad to hear she is ok. as has been said before, anybody with moderate to severe symptoms should be able to get a prescription for an epi-pen. these are really the only way to go for any kind of severe situation.

    Prep On!

    -Dan

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