Anaphylaxis

pdfASCIA Fast Facts - Anaphylaxis90.5 KB

  1. anaphylaxisAnaphylaxis is a potentially life threatening, severe allergic reaction that should always be treated as a medical emergency. It occurs after exposure to an allergen (usually to foods, insects or drugs), to which a person is allergic. Not all people with allergies are at risk of anaphylaxis.

  2. Anaphylaxis symptoms include one or more of the following:

    • Difficult/noisy breathing

    • Swelling/tightness in throat

    • Wheeze or persistent cough

    • Pale and floppy (in young children)

    • Swelling of tongue

    • Difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice

    • Persistent dizziness and/or collapse

    • Stomach (abdominal) pain, vomiting (insect allergy)

  3. In some cases, anaphylaxis is preceded by a mild to moderate allergic reaction, with symptoms such as swelling of face, lips and/or eyes, hives or welts and stomach (abdominal) pain, vomiting.

  4. ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis include infographics to illustrate the first step of action for anaphylaxis:

    • 1 Lay person flat

    • Do NOT allow them to stand or walk

    • If unconscious, place in recovery position

    • If breathing is difficult allow them to sit

    • 2 Give adrenaline autoinjector

    • 3 Phone ambulance - 000 (AU) or 111 (NZ)

    • 4 Phone family/emergency contact

    • 5 Further adrenaline doses may be given if no response after 5 minutes

    • 6 Transfer person to hospital for at least 4 hours of observation

    • If in doubt give adrenaline autoinjector

    • Commence CPR at any time if person is unresponsive and not breathing normally

  5. Adrenaline (epinephrine) works rapidly to reverse the effects of anaphylaxis and is the first line treatment for anaphylaxis.  Adrenaline autoinjectors contain a single, fixed dose of adrenaline, and have been designed to be given by non-medical people, such as a friend, teacher, parent, passer-by or by the patient themselves (if they are not too unwell to do this).

For more information, including free e-training courses visit www.allergy.org.au/anaphylaxis

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia www.allergyfacts.org.au and Allergy New Zealand www.allergy.org.nz are patient support organisations that provide updates and advice for people with allergies.

© ASCIA 2018

ASCIA is the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand

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Disclaimer
This document has been developed and peer reviewed by ASCIA members and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner. Development of this document is not funded by any commercial sources and is not influenced by commercial organisations.

Content updated October 2018

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