TOOLBOX TALK 01/60
OBJECTIVE: TWO COMMON ALLERGENS
There are many sources of allergens that can cause an allergic reaction. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, food, drugs, latex, and insect stings. A few of these allergens may be an issue while on the job. It is important to know what you and your team are allergic to in case of an exposure resulting in an emergency.
Bee and wasp stings are a common cause of allergic reactions on the job. Most people respond to an insect bite with redness and some minor swelling in the sting area. Others have a much more severe reaction including ones that are life-threatening. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening whole-body allergic reaction that can impair your breathing, cause a dramatic drop in your blood pressure, and affect your heart rate.
The best practice when dealing with these insects is to avoid them whenever possible. If working outdoors, survey the work area for any possible nests or areas that could produce these insects. Wear clothing that covers most of the skin in case of an attack. It is important to have an EPI Pen that is easily accessible on the job if you are at risk for a severe allergic reaction due to insect stings.
There can be many kinds of food that cause an allergic reaction. Some of the most common food allergies are milk, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, shellfish, fish, and eggs.
The best practice to reduce the chance of an allergic reaction due to food is to know what the allergen is and avoid any food it could possibly be in. Some individuals’ sensitivity is so extreme that if their food is sharing the same refrigerator space as the source of their allergen that they could experience a reaction. It is important that the people around you at work are aware of any food allergy that causes a severe allergic reaction so they can help prevent cross-contamination resulting in an allergic reaction for you. Also, make sure you have an EPI pen on hand if you experience severe allergic reactions due to food allergies.
It is important to communicate any allergens to someone on the job who is in a management position. Proper and immediate treatment is crucial for someone suffering from a severe allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical treatment, including an injection of epinephrine and a trip to a hospital emergency room. If it isn’t treated properly, anaphylaxis can be fatal.
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