Safety Bulletins

Alert - Allergies & Anaphylaxis

What is Anaphylaxis? Anaphylaxis (according to Wikipedia) is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. It typically causes a number of symptoms including an itchy rash, throat swelling and low blood pressure. The most common causes include foods, and medications, however, in forest operations the main culprit is insect bites and stings most notably from WASPS!

Bees and wasps are the most instantly recognizable biting/stinging insects. Their black & yellow striping signals 'keep away'!

If stung, most immediate reactions are mild, causing annoying itching, redness, pain and swelling that disappear within a few days. A few people develop a more severe allergic reaction anaphylaxis and require immediate treatment!

Having been stung in the past without a serious reaction does not mean you will not have anaphylaxis in the future. Therefore, having an EpiPen on hand is a sensible practicable step!

Recommendations and Tips!

  • Do not swat at wasps. If they land on you, gently brush them off, then walk away.

  • Wasps often travel in groups and are far more aggressive by the end of summer, as they search for food before the colder weather sets in. Leaving food or scraps out, especially sweet food and drinks is not advised.

  • Purchase EpiPen at a pharmacy. It will cost $140 to have one in your first aid kit.

  • ACC have advised that they will reimburse this cost when the EpiPen is used on a patient as treatment for an anaphylactic reaction.

View this article in Safety Bulletin 98