after the administration of the antigen. If a reaction is delayed as much as 30 minutes, it
is probably less threatening and can be treated with an antihistamine.
A number of precautions should be taken when handling or administering
immunizing drugs in order to guard against serious reactions.
a. A medical officer should be available in case serious reactions develop.
b. Epinephrine injection 1:1000 should be drawn into a syringe and placed at
hand for immediate use in case the client shows signs of going into shock. A tourniquet
should also be at hand.
c. The client's immunization record should be checked for evidence of previous
reactions. Also, the client should be asked about previous allergic reactions.
d. Aseptic technique should be maintained. This includes using a separate
needle for each injection.
e. Two or more immunizing agents should never be mixed in a vial or syringe for
the purpose of giving a single, simultaneous injection. The mixing of these drugs may
cause the preparations to lose their immunizing potency or to produce enhanced
f. Immunizing drugs should be stored properly prior to the time they are used.
Directions on the package should be followed to ensure proper storage. In general,
these drugs are to be stored within a temperature range of 2-10C or 35-50F.
g. Directions on the label should be read carefully and followed exactly.
h. The expiration date on the package should be carefully checked. Outdated
preparations should not be used.
i. If a person has a history of allergic reactions, an intradermal skin test should
be performed, for example, using 0.1 ml of the drug to be administered. (The
manufacturer's directions should always be followed for hypersensitivity tests.)
Whenever serum is to be given to persons who do not report allergies to serum, it is
always necessary to skin test each person before the dosage is injected to learn
whether the client is sensitive to the serum. Any person who reports allergy to serum
should not be skin tested and should not be given a drug suspended in serum because
an allergic reaction may result.
(1) "Reading" the skin test. A positive reaction has occurred if a hivelike
welt appears, or if there is redness of the skin around the site of the injection. Either of
these findings indicates that the client is sensitive to the serum.