How to position a person having anaphylaxis
The ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis includes the following infographics that show the correct and incorrect positioning of a person having anaphylaxis.
When a person has anaphylaxis their blood pressure can drop rapidly, which reduces blood flow to the heart. Laying the person flat will help blood flow to the heart which improves blood pressure, whilst standing can make anaphylaxis worse by causing blood pressure to drop.
Therefore, when a person is having anaphylaxis:
- Lay person flat – do NOT allow them to stand or walk.
- If breathing is difficult allow them to sit with legs outstretched
- If unconscious or pregnant, place in the recovery position (on left side)
They should NOT stand, walk, or be held upright, even if they appear to have recovered.
A new animation has been developed as part of the National Allergy Strategy, which explains:
- How to position a person having anaphylaxis, including when giving the adrenaline (epinephrine) injector.
- Why it is important that a person having anaphylaxis does not stand or walk.