SurvivalMedicineBlog

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Allergic Reactions and Anaphylactic Shock Emergencies

Addressing Post-SHFT Allergic Reactions

 

One of my greatest concerns even before a TEOTWAWKI event is an allergic reaction to bee or wasp stings. Myself and other members of my family have all had moderate to severe reactions to stings and while it would be nice to think that an EpiPen will be available, I am realistic. They are expensive, have an expiration date and require a prescription. I am all for having one ‘just in case’, but after moving out of the suburban rat trap a few years ago, I found myself living about 20 minutes from the nearest ER and the nearest rescue squad is about 10 miles from my home. I had to get educated about how to stop or slow down allergic reactions and quick since time is of the essence in an allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis). And besides that, you and I both need to know what to do just in case medical help is a long time coming or not all.

The following are JUST IN CASE measures! If you are experiencing a severe allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock and medical help is available…GET IT WITHOUT DELAY!

 

First thing first…what is an allergic reaction?

 

An allergy is an overreaction of the body’s own natural defense system that helps fight infections, the immune system. Normally the immune system protects the body from viruses and bacteria by producing antibodies to fight them. In an allergic reaction, the immune system starts fighting substances that are usually harmless (such as, pollen, a medicine, food substance or even venom) as though these substances were trying to attack the body by releasing histamines. When histamine is released, the body reacts with an allergic reaction. This overreaction can cause a rash, itchy eyes, a runny nose, trouble breathing, nausea, and diarrhea.

This over reaction of the immune system may not occur the first time you are exposed to an allergy-producing substance. For example, the first time you are stung by a bee, you may have only pain and redness from the sting. If you are stung again, you may have hives or trouble breathing. This is caused by the response of the immune system to the venom.

Allergic reactions can range from mild and annoying to sudden and life-threatening. Most allergic reactions are mild, and home treatment can relieve many of the symptoms. An allergic reaction is more serious when severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis occurs, when the allergic reaction causes other problems or when home treatment doesn’t help.

 

Start at the beginning. Since an allergy is an immune system response, it would make sense to be sure that your immune system is strong and working properly. Eating correctly, getting enough sleep, stress reduction and mental attitude all play a roll in a healthy immune system. Granted, in a SHTF scenario all of these may go out the door, but until then, do what you can and when it does hit the fan, do what you can to maintain as best as you can.

Herbs that can help strengthen the immune system are varied and many grow right in your backyard or can easily be grown.

Echinacea Purpurea is the most well known of the immune system strengthening herbs. I recommend drinking as a tea (1 cup daily) or using the tincture form for one week out of four weeks for general use. Do not use continuously as it can over stimulate the immune system and be rendered useless.

Garlic and local Honey. Yes, garlic and local honey…they are both considered ‘tonics’ to the immune system and maybe used daily. For garlic, fresh is the best. Crush and eat one clove daily. For honey, 1 Tablespoon daily.

Astragalus is a time honored TCM tonic for the immune system which can be grown in many regions of theUnited States. Use either as a decoction (boiled, strong tea) or in tincture form daily for one month on, one month off.

Peppermint. Yes, peppermint. This can be made into a tea for daily use and is readily grown through out the world.

 

Next, the immune system is linked with the nervous system. A calm and healthy nervous system will go a long way towards reducing the severity of an allergic response. A few herbs that are excellent for the nervous system are Avena sativa (Oats), Scutellaria lateriflora (Scullcap) and Turnera diffusa (Damiana). All of these may be eaten, taken as a tea or tincture and used daily or as needed.

 

Also, keeping your liver healthy so that it can function correctly is important and goes a long way to strengthening your immune system too.

Herbs that help in maintaining a healthy liver are widely varied and include:

Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root and Leaf, Artichoke Leaves and Astragalus. Dandelion root and artichoke are easily cultivated here in theUnited Statesand both maybe eaten without cooking. Dandelion makes a wonderful tea too and can be used daily.

The above herbs can be used alone or together for prevention or mitigation of an allergic reaction.

 

Okay, now you are doing prevention and being as careful as possible to avoid the allergen, but somehow, you have an allergic reaction. I will assume for the rest of this writing that you know what ‘caused’ the allergic reaction.

 

First thing to remember is that TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE in an allergic reaction and to remain as calm as possible. Be prepared to react quickly upon first symptom of an allergic reaction, especially if you are prone to anaphylactic shock. If you have an EpiPen use it FIRST!

 

Bees and Wasps and Other Bites

 

The first line of defense that has worked very well for me and my family has been homeopathic remedies followed by essential oils and herbs.

 

The following are appropriate remedies for stings and bites:

 

Aconitum napellus: This remedy can be helpful if a person feels fearful or panicked after being stung or bit. Cutting, stabbing, or burning pain may be felt, along with swelling, tingling, or numbness. Aconitum should be used immediately, while symptoms are intense, and can be followed by another remedy, as indicated.

 

Apis mellifica: If a bite or bee sting causes puffy, tender swelling that is pink or red and hot to the touch, this remedy may be helpful. The area stings and burns, and cold applications bring relief. (If a person is allergic to insect venom, especially bee-stings, Apis may help to reduce the swelling of the passages, given as first aid while on the way to emergency medical care.)

 

Cantharis: This remedy may be indicated if a bite or sting results in intensely burning, scalding pain. The area of inflammation is red, and blisters may develop.

 

Carbolicum acidum: This remedy is usually indicated in first-aid situations, while medical help is being sought. The person feels sick and weak, and may have trouble breathing, with a dark or reddish face that looks pale around the mouth.

 

Hypericum: This remedy is known for its soothing effect on injuries to nerve-rich body areas. It is also useful after puncture wounds, including bites and stings. Shooting pains or pains with numbness and tingling often are experienced when Hypericum is needed.

 

Ledum palustre: Swelling that extends some distance from the bite, often with a bluish tinge, a feeling of cold and numbness, and aching pain, suggests the use of this remedy. If the swollen part seems cold, but the application of ice or cold water brings relief, Ledum is strongly indicated.

 

Urtica urens: Reddish blotches that burn and itch intensely (like a nettle sting) after insect bites may be relieved with this remedy. It is also a useful remedy for hives that sting and itch.

 

 

For those who are known to have anaphylactic response to stings and bites the three main remedies that are a MUST have in a SHTF situation are: Aconitum napellus, Apis mellifica and Carbolicum acidum.

 

Use the Aconitum FIRST followed immediately by the Carbolicum (if indicated) and Apis. Take 4 pellets of the Aconitum immediately. Then take 4 pellets of the other remedies (both if need be but definitely the Apis!). You use a homeopathic remedy (and a tincture for that matter) by putting the pellets under the tongue and allowing to melt. Do NOT chew or swallow. Allow the remedy to work. If you seek it working significantly, then do not dose again. If you begin to see ‘improvement’ slow or no improvement, take another dose. Do not hesitate to take another dose if you are unsure!

 

Take these remedies as needed until the symptoms subside and the threat has passed, then begin to take the other remedies mentioned above to address the other possible reactions. I will typically take a homeopathic dose and then when symptoms begin to resume take another dose. You will have to pay attention to the signs and symptoms in order to know when to dose…again, if in doubt, dose. But if the symptoms have clearly gone away, do not dose. Often times you will see a ‘reduction’ in symptoms and then a ‘rebound’. PAY ATTENTION. The MINUTE you see a return of symptoms take another dose.

 

 

Regarding homeopathic remedies…I personally keep on hand the 200c, 6c and 30c remedy for emergency situations of these remedies and it is suggested that you use either the 6c or 30c but use whatever strength you have on hand.

 

 

Food Allergies- There is no straight forward homeopathic remedy that I know of for a food allergy reaction. However, it is my understanding that the same remedies used in a first aid situation for bee stings would also help in this situation given the symptoms may be the same. It goes without saying to AVOID the offending food. Bromelain, which is found in Pineapple has been found to be beneficial in reducing allergic reactions to food.

 

Of note is one ‘herbal’ remedy for an allergic reaction to food. Peach Tincture. Kiva Rose, a well-known and respected master herbalist uses the tincture of Peach to halt allergic reactions to food. I have yet to find it already made for purchase but it is simple to make yourself ‘just in case’ and you don’t have to kill the tree to make it.

 

Directions for making Peach Tincture:

After spring pruning take the twigs or branches of the peach tree that you would normally compost or burn and grab a glass jar. Cut the branches or twigs into small 1 inch pieces and place in the glass jar (at least half full). Pour 100 proof alcohol over this filling to the top of the jar. Place the lid on top and tighten. Place the jar with the mixture in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks. Be sure to shake this mixture in the jar 2-3 times a week and then remove the plant material after 6 weeks. To use at the beginning of a food allergy reaction (mild to moderate) take 1 tsp. of the tincture and hold, swishing in the mouth for at least 1 minute before swallowing. Use as needed until symptoms are gone.

 

The aftermath. Nothing is worse that getting over an allergic reaction. The pain, swelling, itching can be horrible. This is due to the histamine reaction and there are ways to address this and speed up the process as your body clears its system of the allergen.

 

An antihistamine is used to fight off the body’s natural chemical histamine and should be used as soon as any threats to life have been addressed and if possible, used at the sametime. Antihistamine herbs fight off histamine and stop the allergic reaction from continuing.

 

 

Echinacea

Chamomile

Basil

Ginger

Stinging Nettle

Plantain

Reishi (a type of mushroom)

Wild Oregano

 

If you have a known allergy it may be well worth it to incorporate these herbs into your diet. Basil, ginger, and oregano can easily be incorporated into your diet and grown. Echinacea, chamomile, stinging nettle and plantain can also be grown or wild crafted. Echinacea, chamomile and stinging nettle can be taken as a tea or tincture as needed to fight off a histamine response. Plantain is often used directly on the site of the sting or bite to counteract the allergen.

In any case, 1 cup of tea as needed to control the histamine response. 60-100 drops of the tincture as needed OR if you have the herb in pill form (best for overnight use) take up to 6 capsules at one time.

Plantain can be found growing wild in waste areas. To use simply pick, chew and then place the chewed material directly on the site of the bite/sting to help reduce histamines.

 

You may also use Tea Tree or Lavender essential oil to help with the allergic reaction. Especially for stinging, swelling and pain. I have found that liberal use of Tea Tree essential oil (not diluted) on the affected area is most helpful for ‘hot’ skin and lavender essential oil is best for ‘cold’ skin…allow to dry and repeat as needed.

 

Natural ephedrine….just in case. While certainly nothing will replace the EpiPen there is one plant/shrub that contains natural ephedrine that can be grown here in theUSand is often found in the wild in the western areas of theUnited States. Mormon Tea. It might be worth a shot to have on hand ‘just in case’ to deliver a shot of ephedrine into your system. I know first hand its usefulness in bronchitis and in helping to control asthma symptoms. You would need to either have the tincture available for immediate use (use 1tsp, hold in mouth, swish around for 1 minute and then swallow) or the plant material to make a strong tea. If you use the tincture you cannot use a homeopathic for at least 20 minutes as the alcohol will destroy the homeopathic.

 

 

THESE ALL WORK! Both my husband and I have extremely bad reactions to bee and wasp stings and using these have allowed us to reduce the allergic response enough to treat at home. The key is having these on hand for IMMEDIATE USE! Homeopathic remedies do not go bad when stored correctly and having these on hand might just save your life or someone else’s while you either wait on the ambulance, get to the doctors office or even tough it out yourself. While anaphylactic shock is extremely serious I would personally rather try something than do nothing and if you don’t have this type of reaction you might just save yourself some pain and misery by using this information. Use your brain here, severe allergic reactions are no joke and if you can, I always recommend to get professional help if at all possible in life threatening situations.

God bless and good luck!

 

Rev. Laura

January 9, 2012 Posted by | Guidelines, Herbs, Homeopathics, Medical Conditions | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cold? Flu? Allergies? Pt. 1 Which or what is it??

Its that time of the year, the weather is getting colder and its time for colds, coughs, allergies and the flu to make its appearance. What is it? What are the signs and symptoms? What do you have? How can you improve your chances of NOT catching something? And what do you do IF you or a loved one starts to feel something isn’t right?

I have put this information together for ease of reading and understanding and all information is taken directly from WebMd.

In this first part of Colds, Flu, Coughs, Allergies we will discuss what the symptoms/signs are of some the most common upper respiratory ailments are. Part 2 will have prevention tips and suggestions and Part 3 will address what to do ‘just in case’ you get a cold or the flu and finally, we will discuss, in Part 4 what complications may arise from the common cold or flu. No matter if its an average day when you get sick or the end of the world as you know it, we got you covered to help yourself, just in case.

Colds

Colds usually begin abruptly with a sore throat followed by symptoms such as clear, watery nasal drainage; sneezing; fatigue; and sometimes a low-grade fever (below 101 degrees F). Postnasal drip causes the sore throat and cough that accompany colds.

For the first few days of a cold, your nose drips with watery nasal secretions. Later, these secretions may become thicker and darker. (Dark mucus with a cold virus does not necessarily mean that you have developed a bacterial infection, so don’t beg your doctor for an antibiotic.)

A mild cough is a common cold symptom. The cough won’t get much worse, but this common cold symptom is likely to last into the second week of your cold. If you suffer with asthma or other lung problem, a cold may make it worse. If you are coughing up dark mucus — or if you are feeling a lot of distress in the lower parts of your lungs — you may have a bacterial infection. It’s a good idea to touch base with your doctor to find out if you need to be seen.

Usually, there is no fever with common cold symptoms. In fact, fever and more severe symptoms may indicate that you have the flu and not a cold.

Common cold symptoms usually start between one and three days after you are infected by a cold virus. Typically, they last for about three to seven days. At that point, the worst is over, but you may feel congested for a week or more. During the first three days that you have common cold symptoms, you are contagious. This means you can pass the cold virus to those you come in contact with.

If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a bacterial infection, which means you may need antibiotics.

Sometimes you may mistake cold symptoms for allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or a sinus infection. If your cold symptoms begin quickly and are improving after a week, then it is usually a cold, not allergy. If your cold symptoms do not seem to be getting better after a week, check with your doctor to see if you have developed an allergy or sinusitis.

Flu

Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of flu include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. Swine flu in particular is also associated with vomiting and diarrhea.

Most flu symptoms gradually improve over two to five days, but it’s not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more.

How do you know if you have flu or cold symptoms? Take your temperature, say many experts. Flu symptoms often mimic cold symptoms with nasal congestion, cough, aches, and malaise. But a common cold rarely has symptoms of fever above 101 degrees F. With flu symptoms, you will probably have a fever initially with the flu virus and you will feel miserable. Body and muscle aches are also more common with the flu. This table can help determine if you have cold or flu symptoms.

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Sometimes, usually mild Usual; higher (100-102 F; occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Occasionally Common
General Aches, Pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, Weakness Sometimes Usual; can last 2 to 3 weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Usual; at the beginning of the illness
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Chest Discomfort, Cough Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe

Other great questions to ask yourself or your child to figure out what ‘it’ is:

Flu vs. Colds: A Guide to Symptoms
Questions Flu Cold
Was the onset of illness … sudden? slow?
Do you or your child have a … high fever? no (or mild) fever?
Is you or your child’s exhaustion level … severe? mild?
Is you or your child’s head … achy? headache-free?
Is you or your child’s appetite … decreased? normal?
Are you or your child’s muscles … achy? fine?
Do you or your child have … chills? no chills?

Colds and flues are caused by hundreds of different viruses. When one of these viruses gets into your body, your immune system attacks. Some of the effects of this immune response are the classic symptoms of a cold, such as congestion and coughing. With the flu, you will often have the classic symptom of body aches and fever.

The germs that cause colds and flues are contagious. You can pick them up when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or shakes hands with you. After a couple of weeks, at the most (with the flu its just days), your immune system fights off the virus and you stop having symptoms.

Allergies are caused by an overactive immune system. For some reason, your body mistakes harmless substances — such as mold or pollen — for germs and attacks them. Your body releases chemicals such as histamine, just as it does when fighting a cold. This can cause swelling in your nasal passages, a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Allergies are not contagious, although some people may inherit a tendency to develop them.

Differences Between Colds and Allergies

Characteristic

Cold

Allergy

Duration

three-14 days

Days to months — as long as you are exposed to the allergen

Time of Year

Most often in the winter, but possible at any time

Any time of the year — although the appearance of some allergens are seasonal

Onset of symptoms

Symptoms take a few days to appear after infection with the virus.

Symptoms can begin immediately after exposure to the allergen

Symptom

Cold

Allergy

Cough

Often

Sometimes

Aches

Sometimes

Never

Fatigue

Sometimes

Sometimes

Fever

Rarely

Never

Itchy, watery eyes

Rarely

Often

Sore throat

Often

Sometimes

Runny or stuffy nose

Often; usually yellow mucus

Often; usually clear mucus

Although there are some differences, cold and allergy symptoms overlap quite a bit. The most important difference is that colds don’t last longer than 14 days. If you still have symptoms after two weeks, these may be allergy symptoms.

In the next part of this series, Cold? Flu? Allergies? we will discuss common ways to prevent ‘catching’ a cold, flu or having allergy symptoms.

December 1, 2011 Posted by | Guidelines, Medical Conditions | , , , , , , | Leave a comment