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Allergies and anaphylaxis: A primer

Differences between the two calls for different management approaches

Our bodies are bombarded by a wide variety of allergens and pathogens every day. It is up to our immune system to fight off those bugs that intend to do us harm, either on purpose or as an unintended response.

Many of us have experienced allergies at some point in our lives. For the vast majority of the time, our bodies’ immune response is nothing more than a mere nuisance, giving us watery eyes and stuffy noses as various enzymes and chemical reactions work to rid itself of foreign proteins found in pollen, for example.

On the other hand, allergies can become so severe that they can be life-threatening, a condition known as anaphylaxis. Let’s look at the mechanisms that can cause this potentially deadly chain reaction. Check out the video below.

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Jon Puryear, NREMT-P, has been active in EMS since 1983. He has been an active paramedic since 1992 including being an educator and Field Training Officer for several employers. He was the Assistant to the Medical Director for Dr. John Griswell in Ft. Worth, Texas, for EPAB/MedStar EMS and the Education/Clinical Coordinator for CareFlite in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metropolitan area. Jon is the owner of Jon Puryear EMS CE, performing online live streaming and recorded EMS CE classes and refreshers. The live online classes are taught in a virtual instructor-led online live classroom, which allows the student to participate in “real time.” These classes may be taken from any computer or iPad/Apple TV with internet access and no travel is required. Many recorded classes are available in his online Learning Management System. Jon performs a 16 hour NREMT prep onsite to initial programs, and also a recorded version online designed to prepare students for their NREMT written examination. You may contact Jon and obtain more information about his services at

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