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
- 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:
- 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
- Call 999 for an ambulance immediately, and say that you think they have anaphylaxis
- If the reaction is following a wasp or bee sting, try to carefully remove the allergen if possible
- If the person is conscious and breathing normally, lie them down flat and raise their legs
- If the person is having difficulty breathing, they may need to sit up to help with this
- Use an adrenaline auto-injector (Epi-Pen) if you have one– but make sure you know how to use it correctly first
- 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.