An allergy is actually a hypersensitivity reaction of the immune system. While everyone is mildly allergic to something or the other, some are prone to severe reactions, the worst of which can result in death due to anaphylactic shock. When such severe anaphylaxis or allergic reaction occurs, time is of essence because it occurs at a very rapid pace. At such times, the importance of an emergency allergy kit can hardly be overemphasized. This kit will especially be useful for children with food allergies or children who spend time away from home. Given below is a step wise explanation for creating an emergency allergy kit.
This is more of a collecting effort and once you have the things ready, it takes hardly 20 minutes to have it ready.
1. Oral Histamines (for instance, Benadryl).
2. Fast acting Asthma medication (for instance, Albuterol, inhaled steroids).
3. Injectable epinephrine (for instance, Epipen, Twinject).
4. Anticholinergics (for instance, Atrovent).
5. Any other medication that your physician or doctor has recommended you to carry.
6. A durable card.
7. A permanent marker pen.
8. A durable handbag (about 20cm by 10cm by 10cm).
9. Sachets of silica gel (or other such desiccant)
10. Information on insurance and medicines collected.
1. The durable handbag will be the casing for your emergency allergy kit. Ensure that the bag is completely clean and waterproof. Add one or two sachets of silica gel. This will ensure that the insides of the bag remain dry always.
2. Using the permanent marker, write in bold letters – EMERGENCY ALLERGY KIT – on the bag. Wait a few minutes for the ink to dry so as to prevent smudging.
3. Place the medicines that you have collected into the bag.
4. Write down the name, phone number and contact address of the physician on the durable card. Also include the names and details of other people to be contacted in case of an emergency. Laminate the card after writing the details to enhance its longevity.
5. Seal the bag completely. Ensure that it is stored in a safe place, away from the reach of children, moisture and pests!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I know that someone needs the aid of the Allergy kit?
If the person suffers from any of the symptoms listed below (known as signs of anaphylaxis), then he/she is in need of the kit. These symptoms commonly are:
a. Wheezing and difficulty in breathing.
b. Confusion, light-headedness or stupor.
c. Diarrhea, nausea or severe abdominal pain.
d. Blue skin or hives on the surface of the skin.
e. Rapid swelling on any part of the body.
2. What are the possible places that require the kit?
Any place where an allergy might occur is a good place to have the kit. Schools, pre-schools, offices, daycare centers, old age homes. Keep it stored safely in a cabinet or a work desk.
3. Who should use the kit to administer medicines?
It is best to have a few workers or volunteers be trained by a physician to recognize the symptoms of an allergy. They should be trained to administer the required medicines and consult the physician for further advice.
4. What else is important to be done? Are we missing something?
One of the most important tasks is to check that all the medicines in the kit are regularly updated and the expired medicines are discarded. The volunteers or workers who are trained on the kit should be vigilant to check for the expiry date before using any of the medicines.
1. It is suggested that all the writing on the card and bag is done by someone with a good handwriting. It would be best to get the same typed and printed for maximum legibility.
2. It would be better if everyone is taught the general signs of anaphylaxis. This will make identification quick and easy.
3. Consider updating the kits on some memorable date – your birthday or the wedding anniversary date. This will ensure that you do not forget to update the medicines.
4. Make a list of all the places where the kits are stored. This is to ensure that none slip through the regular updating process.
Things to watch out for
1. The information given here is for general purpose use only. It is not a substitute for medical advice from your allergist or physician.
2. The kit should be stored in a temperature and humidity controlled area. The medicines usually change character when exposed to changing temperatures and humidity.
3. Ensure that the insurance and contact details on the card are also updated constantly. It would make no sense to have the discarded phone number of the physician.
4. The medicines in this kit will only work on allergies. They will not help solve similar symptoms due to food intolerances.
5. In case of any doubt or distress, call 911 or the physician right away. It is always better to be safe than sorry.