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Anaphylaxis: What you need to know

In the kitchen
  • Date published:

  • Author: oliverkyle

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger known as an allergen. It usually develops suddenly and can get worse very quickly. Anaphylaxis is very serious and needs to be treated urgently.

Symptoms can include:

  • Feeling lightheaded or faint
  • Breathing difficulties such as fast, shallow breathing
  • Wheezing
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Clammy skin
  • Confusion and anxiety
  • Collapsing or losing consciousness

If your child is suffering from anaphylaxis, they may also experience other allergy symptoms which can include; feeling sick, swelling, stomach pain or having an itchy raised rash.

What to do if a child has symptoms of anaphylaxis:

  1. Use an adrenaline auto-injector (such as an Epi-Pen) if you have one– but make sure you know how to use it correctly first
  2. Call 999 for an ambulance immediately, and say that you think they have anaphylaxis
  3. If the reaction is following a wasp or bee sting, try to carefully remove the allergen if possible
  4. If the person is conscious and breathing normally, lie them down flat and raise their legs
  5. If the person is having difficulty breathing, they may need to sit up to help with this
  6. Use an adrenaline auto-injector (Epi-Pen) if you have one– but make sure you know how to use it correctly first
  7. Give another injection after 5-15 minutes if the symptoms don’t improve and a second auto-injector is available

If they become unconscious at any point, follow CPR guidance.

If your child suffers from an allergy requiring an adrenaline auto-injector, it is important to let school staff and others involved in their care know. You may also want to let your child’s public health nurse team know. Your child will have a personal care plan given to them by their doctor and it’s important that school have this.