A hand holding an EpiPen 

Anaphylaxis is a severe Allergic Reaction that can be triggered by a variety of substances, and can be life threatening. The signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction usually occur rapidly - within seconds to minutes. A person who is diagnosed with allergies that may lead to anaphylaxis, will often have prescribed medication (injectable adrenaline) with them at all times, and this injection of adrenaline could save their life!

In order to effectively assist a person suffering from an anaphylactic reaction it's important to recognise the signs and symptoms. These can include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
  • Itching or hives anywhere on their body
  • May collapse, leading to unconsciousness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of the throat and tongue
  • Wheezing

Here's a handy video from Asthma and Anaphylaxis Australia to help you recognise these symptoms.

Once you've recognised that a person is suffering from anaphylaxis it's also vital to know how you can best respond to save their life! A quick response it vital, so here's what you should do:

  • Follow the DRSABCD procedure
  • Call 000 for an ambulance.
  • If the casualty has his or her own medications - injectable adrenaline (Epipen) - assist the casualty to administer the medication as per instructions.
  • Rest and reassure the casualty.
  • Monitor the casualty's Airway and Breathing.
  • Lots of talking and reassuring.
  • If after 5 minutes there is no improvement or the reaction is worsening, administer a second Epipen if available.

If you've never administered an Epipen before here's a simple video from Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia to assist you.

We offer a variety of courses to assist you in responding to a first aid emergency, including Provide First Aid, Provide an Emergency First Aid Response in an Education and Care Setting or Provide Advanced First Aid.

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For more information on anaphylaxis including free to download resources click the link below.

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