Simple Tips for Responding to Allergic ReactionsWhat you need to know to keep your staff and students safe.
Marian V. Liautaud | posted 7/20/2010
Likely, you have staff and members at your church who deal with an extreme allergy condition. Do you know who they are? Do you have any means for documenting this health risk, especially among your staff and students? Here are a few simple tips to recognize and deal with allergic reactions at your church.
Allergens at Church
When the body senses a foreign substance, the immune system is triggered. If it overreacts to this substance, whether it's dust, pollen, or certain foods, this is an allergic reaction. Depending on how clean you keep your church, dust and mold may be aggravating your congregation's health. Especially vulnerable to more severe allergic reactions are those who suffer from certain other medical conditions, such as asthma, lung conditions that affect breathing, and sensitive skin. Because of common irritants like dust, it's a good idea to keep your facility as clean as possible.
What an Allergic Reaction Looks Like
Call an ambulance if you or someone around you has any of the following allergic reactions:
- Sudden, severe, rapidly worsening symptoms
- Exposure to an allergen that previously caused severe or bad reactions
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
- Wheezing, chest tightness, loud breathing, or trouble breathing
- Confusion, sweating, nausea, or vomiting
- Widespread rash
- Collapse or unconsciousness
Other less dire symptoms of an allergic reaction could include skin rash, swelling, wheezing, itchy eyes, or runny nose.
How to Respond
A severe reaction is a medical emergency. Don't try to treat or "wait out" severe reactions. Go immediately to a hospital emergency department. If no one is available to drive you right away, call 911 for emergency medical transport.
Small reactions with mild symptoms usually respond to nonprescription allergy medications with antihistamine, such as Benadryl. For rashes, you can try an anti-inflammatory steroid cream such as hydrocortisone. For small, localized skin reactions, try cold, wet cloths or ice. A bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel makes the perfect ice compress.