Everybody knows how an allergic reaction can cause respiratory distress, including breathing and circulation difficulties. More severe allergic reactions can lead to anaphylaxis and cause shortness of breath and loss of consciousness.
Allergic reactions have a grading system that includes multi-system allergic reactions like anaphylaxis. An anaphylactic attack can cause cardiopulmonary failure, which is why it’s crucial to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation immediately, including rescue breathing and chest compressions.
Sometimes, even a medical intervention with an Automated External Defibrillator can be life-saving.
Check out this article on the relationship between anaphylaxis and CPR. Learn more about the condition and how to administer chest compressions depending on the severity, age, and other factors.
What is Anaphylaxis: Its Relation to CPR & AED
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening multi-system allergic reaction. In 2017, scientists stated that more than 5% of the US population has suffered an anaphylactic reaction. Nonetheless, these multi-system allergic responses are fatal in only 0.65 to 2% of overall cases.
Anaphylactic reactions are often defined as overreactions of the body’s immune system to an allergic trigger. It’s also known as an anaphylactoid reaction. However, there can be a difference between an anaphylaxis and anaphylactoid reaction.
Anaphylaxis is often caused by IgE-mediated immune responses, while anaphylactoid reactions aren’t necessarily IgE-mediated. It means you can trace the causes of anaphylaxis in various allergens, such as foods, chemicals, contrast agents, and insect bites.
Medics usually treat anaphylaxis with medications, such as epinephrine, adrenaline, oxygen, antihistamines, and corticosteroids. Nevertheless, CPR is sometimes necessary to save the patient’s life because the anaphylactic reaction can result in respiratory arrest and failure that can cause cardiac arrest.
That’s why when a person suffers an anaphylactic allergic reaction and loses consciousness – check for breathing and pulse first! If there’s no pulse for 10 seconds – proceed to perform the CPR procedure.
Can You Perform CPR On Someone in Anaphylaxis?
Doctors usually recommend that people with a high risk of anaphylactic attacks carry adrenaline auto-injectors. They also treat anaphylactic patients with epinephrine (adrenaline), oxygen, antihistamines, cortisol, and a beta-agonist.
Anaphylaxis can make you feel dizzy and lightheaded. In some cases, it can lead to fainting because of respiratory difficulties caused by the lack of oxygen and saturation dropping below 92%. That’s why medical workers often treat these patients with oxygen masks besides the various medications.
However, anaphylactic patients usually get epinephrine (adrenaline), antihistamines, and cortisol. Anaphylactic patients often take epinephrine (adrenaline) to reduce the extreme allergic response. In addition to this, doctors sometimes prescribe medications like antihistamines and cortisol to improve breathing by reducing airway inflammation.
Through the treatment of the various anaphylactic reactions, we can see that CPR can be essential in treating life-threatening saturation and circulation difficulties. These are only the partial reasons why medics recommend chest compressions and rescue breaths on patients with severe anaphylactic attacks.
Medical professionals recommend CPR on unconscious and non-breathing patients to restore proper circulation and oxygen flow throughout the body. The fast and hard compressions combined with rescue breaths will enable oxygen flow to the brain and restore the normal heart rhythm.
Anaphylaxis and AEDs
Bystanders and medical workers sometimes treat severe anaphylactic attacks with Automated External Defibrillators. Severe multi-system allergic reactions can result in sudden cardiac arrest or life-threatening arrhythmia. Here, an AED is crucial because it analyzes the patient’s heart rhythm and delivers electric shocks if necessary.
That’s why many available CPR certification courses have implemented the treatment of allergic reactions with an Automated External Defibrillator. During these courses, healthcare providers, medical and emergency workers, and ordinary citizens learn how to assess the emergency before deciding whether an AED shock and analysis is necessary.
Before administering AED shocks to patients in anaphylaxis, you must call the emergency response services and see if the person is unconscious or has no pulse. If the AED recognizes the heart rhythm as shockable, you deliver a shock.
However, you should also perform CPR immediately after the shock and start with chest compressions first. There are many cases in which the AED device finds the heart rhythm non-shockable, meaning you should proceed to CPR.
How to Perform CPR on Someone in Anaphylaxis
There are many ways to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a patient in anaphylaxis. Following is a step-by-step guide on which most of the experts agree is an effective CPR performance for someone with anaphylaxis:
- Lose all tight clothing and jewelry – Removing all objects will lessen the swelling and make it less painful.
- See if the person has a pulse and is breathing – If the person’s heart is still beating, never perform CPR or AED. However, if the person’s heart doesn’t beat for 10 seconds, proceed to CPR.
- Call 991 – If you notice life-threatening symptoms like no pulse, breathing, or disrupted heart rhythm, immediately call 991. Do this before starting with CPR.
- Follow the CPR guidelines – Organizations like AHA and the American Red Cross regularly update their CPR guidelines and steps.
- Stick to the compression-to-ventilation ratio – If the anaphylactic patient doesn’t breathe, start with 30 compressions and then two rescue breaths before any other medical intervention.
Bystanders and professionals should continue with CPR until the emergency services arrive and transport the patient to the hospital for treatment with medication and oxygen masks. The consistent performance of CPR will significantly increase the chances of survival.
How to Avoid and Prevent Anaphylaxis
People ask, “can you perform CPR on someone in anaphylaxis” before asking themselves how to prevent it. Prevention of anaphylactic allergic reactions is crucial in all situations. The prevention of allergic inflammatory reactions is part of the curriculum in most CPR certification courses.
It doesn’t matter if you enroll in a CPR certification course for a babysitter, a medical worker, or a long-term care facility worker. The certified course will teach you how to prevent a particular person from experiencing anaphylactic attacks. That’s why the CPR courses certified by organizations like AHA and the American Cross stress the importance of knowing the patient’s history of allergies and possible prevention measures.
In these courses, you’ll learn how to recognize the multi-system allergic reaction and what to do if there’s an adrenaline injector nearby or an AED device. You’ll also learn about the various triggers of anaphylaxis. You’ll learn about insect stings, foods, pollen, animal dander, and dust mites as the most common allergens that can cause an anaphylactic attack.
Anaphylactic patients also prevent such allergic reactions with medical alert bracelets and necklaces to indicate the allergy beforehand. Furthermore, anaphylactic patients should keep their emergency kits and adrenaline self-injectors nearby.
Simply put, we should prevent the situation from escalating to the need for CPR and AED. Concerning anaphylaxis, CPR should be the last step we take.
Various CPR Courses for Various Anaphylaxis Patients
The CPR certification courses usually offer all this knowledge about the relation between CPR and severe multi-system allergic reactions. On top of that, there are numerous courses with different skill levels and difficulty in administering CPR to patients with severe allergic reactions.
For example, if you’re a person concerned about the health of a relative with severe allergies, you can enroll in some of the basic First-Aid and CPR courses. On the other hand, if you’re a medical worker, health care provider, or emergency responder, you must complete an all-inclusive (also called BLS) CPR course.
Furthermore, CPR certification courses are crucial for treating severe anaphylaxis in different age groups. The CPR rules are different for adults than from those for children or infants suffering severe allergic reactions. The courses incorporate child and infant CPR guidelines, including preventing the little ones from suffering an anaphylactic attack.
The severe multi-system IgE-mediated immune responses like anaphylaxis can result in cardiac arrest or respiratory failures. If we don’t treat them immediately, these emergencies can result in irreversible brain damage and sudden death. That’s why CPR knowledge is crucial.
So, can you perform CPR on someone in anaphylaxis? The answer is yes – you can provide anaphylactic patients with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, including automated external defibrillation.
Nonetheless, anaphylactic allergic reactions rarely demand a CPR procedure – if you act in a timely manner, you may even skip it altogether.
Nonetheless, knowing how to administer CPR properly and in the event of any type of allergic reaction can save many lives.