Allergies and Hives – Management and Treatment Acute and Chronic Illnesses

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ALLERGIES AND HIVES

People with common allergies, such as allergies to ragweed pollen, often avoid the outdoors during prime allergy season to reduce their symptoms. It makes sense for people who have a lot of allergies in the early spring to avoid camping in the early spring. People with plant allergies can also plan to avoid areas that will trigger them. For example, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers an online resource that allows allergy sufferers to see local pollen counts in various parts of the United States and Canada. If you have allergies and know what pollens are most likely to trigger your allergies, you can plan your trip accordingly.

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SELF-AID

If you suffer from plant allergies, you can still enjoy the wilderness even if it makes you sneeze. Here are some tips to help you make camping with allergies a bit more enjoyable:

• Prepare your medicine in advance. If you have severe allergies or asthma, bring a first-aid kit with an extra inhaler, epinephrine injectors, and anything else you might need in an emergency. Make sure that your fellow campers know about your condition and tell them who to call and what to do if you experience serious symptoms.

• Keep covered at night. Camping in a good tent can aid in limiting allergens that blow about at night. A tent with a good, tight window screen or hammock with the same technology will enable you to limit the amount of allergens that come into direct contact with you, at least for your periods of rest.

• Have a cup of tea. Warm teas infused with raw honey, local to the region you’re in, will do wonders in alleviating allergy symptoms.

• Have a cup of tea. Warm teas infused with raw honey, local to the region you’re in, will do wonders in alleviating allergy symptoms.

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Hives are itchy and annoying and should be taken seriously. They’re usually caused by an allergic reaction to something—pollen, plants, food, or insects. Sometimes an infection can produce hives as one of its symptoms. They typically appear as pink blotches on the skin, bumpy and slightly swollen. They normally pass within one day to one week and may become itchy. They can precede anaphylactic shock, so keep an eye on anyone who breaks out in hives. Antihistamines and other topical ointments such as Burleigh Balm are very effective for calming down hives. See Figure 12.1.

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Figure 12.1. Hives on the arm

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BUSHCRAFT TIP

Hives, contact dermatitis from plants such as poison ivy and stinging nettle, and heat rash can be treated with antihistamine plants such as jewelweed (they are also anti-inflammatory). Crushing the fresh plant stems and rubbing them on the affected area is good quick treatment.

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