Arm against allergies with St John Ambulance
St John Ambulance is supporting National
Allergy Week from 11-16 May by encouraging everyone to
learn how to treat severe allergic reactions, particularly
those close to sufferers.
Recognising the signs
Around 40% of children now suffer from allergies and
around half a million people have severe food
allergies, according to figures
from the Anaphylaxis campaign.
With summer around the corner, bringing the prospect of insect
stings and the allergens associated with flowering plants, now is
the ideal time to get trained in treating
severe allergic reactions – otherwise known as anaphylaxis.
The Anaphylaxis first aid course covers how to recognise
the signs of anaphylaxis, such as swelling of the throat,
confusion and an itchy rash, dealing with unconsciousness and
practice using both Anapen and EpiPen, the two types of
auto-injector in common use. Auto-injectors deliver a dose of
adrenaline to the casualty to slow down the dangerous physical
symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as swelling of the airway.
The Anaphylaxis first aid course, developed in
conjunction with Allergy UK, is the only way to be trained
in life saving auto-injector use with St John Ambulance.
'I just wanted to go to sleep'
Mandy Marriott, aged 39 from London, knows how much of a
difference a trained response can make. 'I was walking
around the Chelsea Flower Show last summer when someone
accidentally caught me in the face with a plant. I carried on
walking, and noticed my eyes were sore and stinging – and people
started to notice there was something wrong with my face. It had
become red and blotchy. I was near the St John Ambulance stand and
the first aiders there told me that we had to do something quickly
as I was having an allergic reaction.
‘The doctor on duty asked me questions about my health to assess
me then gave me an injection of adrenaline via an auto-injector. At
this time I was feeling worse and worse; I felt sick, in pain and I
didn't know what was happening. I just wanted to go to sleep. The
St John Ambulance team gave me oxygen and got me into an ambulance
to be sent to hospital. I'm so thankful that there was someone
nearby who was trained in how to treat such a dangerous condition,
and I'd encourage anyone who works with or knows someone with a
severe allergy to get trained too. Don't leave it till you need
For more information on allergies, contact the Allergy UK
helpline on 01322
619898. To book a place on the
Anaphylaxis first aid course, contact your local St John
Ambulance branch on 08700 10 49 50.