By Kayleigh Montgomery
Last year, Robert Falconer went into anaphylactic shock.
“I didn’t know what to do or how to react. I had to call 911 and be taken to the hospital."
He was then diagnosed with a rare condition called idiopathic histamine response syndrome. This is a severe allergy to an unknown substance in the body causing anaphylaxis to occur any moment without notice.
The Calgary resident received the care he needed from medical professionals, but the concern of when it would happen again lingered.
Months later, a workplace opportunity for first aid training came up, and Robert jumped at the invitation.
"I’ve witnessed accidents before and always wondered how I could help that person."
Empowered with his certification to help others in an emergency, he never envisioned applying his training on himself.Shortly after receiving his training, Robert went into anaphylactic shock, again.
He recounted his first aid training, and stepped into action.
“I was able to move myself outside when calling 911, chew Benadryl, and put myself into the recovery position on the ground outside my house while calling for help.”
When the medical professionals arrived, they were able to stabilize Robert before taking him to the hospital. They were impressed with Robert’s proactivity under incredible physical and emotional stress.
“I feel safer with first aid training for myself, my family, and my friends. Attending the training gave me peace of mind knowing that whatever the emergency is, I know which steps I can take to help.”
Don Marentette is the Director of first aid programs at the Canadian Red Cross. He says one of the most important things to do in this situation is to keep calm.
“Stay calm and call 9-1-1 right away, inject the person with an Epipen and take note of time. You can give another dose if there’s no change or the condition worsens in 5-10 minutes. If the person has stopped breathing, start CPR until emergency services arrive because it’s important to keep the blood circulating,” says Don.
He also stresses the importance of having conversations about allergies with family, friends, co-workers, teachers, coaches, etc.
First aid training prepares you to assist someone in an emergency. One day, that someone might be you. A variety of courses are available including for the workplace, and even specifically for youth.
Red Cross Talks - Red Cross blogger