Medic Talk

Medic Talk By the Vermillion Clay Co. Welcome to Medic Talk. This is the first in a series of monthly columns written by local volunteer EMTs. The purpose of this column is to educate the public in common medical emergencies that you, as members of the community, may be presented with.

With the onset of summer, we find ourselves battling the swarms of various bugs and insects that take over our neighborhoods. All of us have been bitten or stung by one of these creatures at some time, and many people have serious allergic reactions to these exposures. If you have never seen someone have an allergic reaction, it can be a pretty scary thing. It's important to know what to look for early on and to be able to get that person some help.

Most allergic reactions will take place right away, but some can be delayed up to 30 minutes or more. If a reaction does occur, these are some things you should look for.

* Itching of the skin

* Hives, which are red, possible raised blotches or bumps.

* Swelling of the face, neck, hands, feet and/or tongue.

* Warm tingling feeling in the face, mouth, chest, feet, and/or hands.

* Person may say their chest or throat feels tight

* Coughing

* Labored breathing and wheezing

* Hoarseness

These are some signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction that should be easy for you to recognize. If someone presents any of these signs and symptoms, it is imperative to get them to an emergency room immediately. Many people are aware that they have these severe allergies and may carry medication that they can give themselves.

Some things you can do for people in these situations is to try to keep them and yourself calm. These people may start to panic and they need to be kept as calm as possible. Keep them warm and limit their activity. Get them to an emergency room immediately.

Allergic reactions can be caused by not only insects such as bees and wasps, but also food, medication, or plants. Severe allergic reactions are life-threatening emergencies because of the immediate threat to that person's airway. Always seek emergency medical attention and try your best to remain calm.

Next month you can read about heat stroke and how to care for and prevent it. So until then, stay safe and have a good summer.

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