Finally in the news this week, an article I picked up out of the College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual scientific meeting recently held in Anaheim, California. This organization recently had a study presented to them on EMS professionals who were not as proactive as they should have been in dealing with anaphylaxis patients. These patients with severe allergic reactions and anaphylactic reactions were less likely than had previously been thought to receive epinephrine in the field.
EMS Medication Fears
I wonder why that is? Are we afraid to give medications or are we unable to accurately assess a patient who has a severe allergic reaction and understand what is were looking at? Do we not understand how quickly a severe or moderate allergic reaction reaction can progress to an anaphylactic reaction?
This is something that we should probably do some education on. I’m looking on that as a future episode segment here on the show. In the meantime, this is something for you to review. Get your protocols out. Get your educational materials out if you are a new paramedic and review allergic reaction. Review your protocols and guidelines on using epinephrine. Know how you give it and how often can you give in all of these situations. This should be something that you consider very carefully.
Review Protocols Often
I know it’s winter time and we may not see as many allergic reactions this time of year. You think in the summertime, when people are out of doors, that you see more reactions from bee stings and things like that. But people can have reactions to medications or related to incidental contact with peanuts and things like that. You should be prepared to manage patients effectively whenever they present to you.
This study is a little bit alarming to me and others in the EMS community. Quite honestly, they’ve looked at this and I know that this has cropped up in my community in the past, when people did not effectively recognize an allergic reaction that needed epinephrine right away. You should be comfortable recognizing allergic reaction and utilizing the tools to treat allergic reaction such as epinephrine.
Follow-up on the links for this news item and all the links for news and additional resources in the shownotes for this episode — EMS Looks At Crohn’s Disease and Episode 317.