ST JOHN Ambulance, the volunteer-lead health charity, has teamed up with the Gazette to bring you some simple summer first aid tips.

This week, unit manager Joshua Hensman, takes us through what to do when someone is having an allergic reaction.

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to an allergen or ‘trigger’ substance. One of the most common allergens is plant pollen, which often causes hay fever. Other allergens include animal hair, bee stings, medication (especially penicillin) and food such as nuts and shellfish.

Allergies develop when the body has an abnormal immune response to a normally harmless substance and mistakes it for a threat, like an infection, and tries to fight it off. 

What to look for

  • Red blotchy, itchy skin
  • Red itchy eyes or nose
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swelling of hands, feet or face
  • Abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.

What to do

Assess the casualty’s signs and symptoms and ask if they have a known allergy.

Remove the trigger or move the casualty away from the trigger as soon as possible.

Treat the symptoms and encourage the casualty to take the medication for their allergy.

If you’re worried about the casualty’s condition then seek medical assistance.

For more free first aid advice, go to St John Ambulance’s website or download the free first aid app from your app store.

For information about volunteering with St John Ambulance in Basingstoke, contact Joshua Hensman on email