Anaphylaxis & Insect Bites or Stings: First Aid

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  • 0:00 Bites with Anaphylaxis
  • 0:25 First Aid for Anaphylaxis
  • 1:55 First Aid for Insect…
  • 3:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, you're going to learn about two interrelated topics: anaphylaxis and insect bites and stings. Find out how they're related and what you can do about them.

Bites with Anaphylaxis

Have you ever eaten something, taken a drug, or been bitten by an insect and had to go to the emergency room because you had a really bad reaction to that substance or the insect? You had an anaphylactic reaction, which is one of the topics we will be discussing in this lesson. We'll go over basic first aid for anaphylaxis and also take a look at basic first aid for insect bites.

First Aid for Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a dangerous, life-threatening, allergic reaction that progresses in a rapid fashion.

All sorts of things can cause this horrific allergic reaction, including:

  • Foods, like shellfish and nuts
  • Drugs, such penicillin or insulin
  • Insect venom, like from bees

Note that in my definition of anaphylaxis, I said this is a rapid allergic reaction, meaning it can occur within just a few minutes after the person is exposed to the allergen. An allergen is a substance that elicits an allergic response.

Signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, lips, throat, or eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness or unconsciousness

If you note any of these, call 911right away. Do not delay because people can die very quickly from this.

Ask the person if they carry something called an EpiPen, or something similar. This is an epinephrine autoinjector that is typically injected by pressing it firmly against the person's thigh for 10 seconds. If they do, ask them if they need help injecting this medication.

If anything, like vomit, is coming out of the person's mouth, turn them to the side so they don't choke. Do not give them water or anything else to drink as they may choke on this as well. Make sure the person is lying still on their back, with their clothing loosened, as you wait for emergency services to arrive. If the person is not showing signs of breathing, movement, or coughing, begin CPR.

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