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.

Infographic anaphylaxis posture lay sit stand

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 a person having anaphylaxis should:

  • Lay flat – do not allow them to stand or walk.
  • If breathing is difficult – allow them to sit on the ground with legs outstretched
  • If pregnant, unconscious or vomiting – lay them in the recovery position 

They should NOT stand, walk, or be held upright, even if they appear to have recovered.

A new animation explaining how to position a person having anaphylaxis, including when giving the adrenaline (epinephrine) injector, has been developed as part of the National Allergy Strategy. This short animation explains why it is important that a person does not stand or walk when they are experiencing anaphylaxis.

How to position a child or an adult having a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

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