Bee & Wasp sting allergies - Anaphylactic Shock|
Anaphylactic shock, the most serious of allergic reactions, is a life-threatening medical emergency because of rapid constriction of the airway, often within minutes of onset.
Note: Sierra Club Medical kits do NOT contain EpiPens, so participants are responsible for bringing their own.
If you have any reason to be concerned that anaphylaxis will occur even before you see signs (i.e., patient with a known history or anaphylactic reactions to bee stings) administer Benadryl ASAP after exposure to the allergen.
If patient shows signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis (swollen face, lips and tongue; difficulty swallowing; systemic hives; respiratory distress; inability to speak in more than one or two word clusters; signs and symptoms of shock), use an EpiPen to administer epinephrine (adrenaline) via a shot in the thigh.
Give Oral antihistamines if patient is able to swallow (e.g. oral diphenhydramine [Benadryl®] :50-100mg every 4-6 hours).
Two EpiPens are recommended, because of the time1 to get evacuated or possible malfunction (this is quite rare, but it does happen occasionally, whether because of a manufacturing defect or because of exposure to temperature extremes), or one EpiPen might not be enough.
EpiPens have a relatively short shelf-life of about 1-2 years.
1. Many of the places we go on day hikes and Introduction to Backpacking do not have cell phone service, so it may take 15 minutes to get up to a ridge where we can call 911, then 30 - 40 minutes to respond. Helicopter landing spots are also an issue, so the patient may have to be transported to an open area. All of which could take up to 1 hr.