Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
If someone has symptoms of anaphylaxis, you should:
If you're having an anaphylactic reaction, you can follow these steps yourself if you feel able to.
People with potentially serious allergies are often prescribed adrenaline auto-injectors to carry at all times. These can help stop an anaphylactic reaction becoming life threatening.
They should be used as soon as a serious reaction is suspected, either by the person experiencing anaphylaxis or someone helping them.
Make sure you're aware how to use your type of auto-injector correctly. And, carry 2 of them with you at all times.
There are 3 main types of adrenaline auto-injector, which are used in slightly different ways.
Instructions are also included on the side of each injector if you forget how to use it or someone else needs to give you the injection.
Someone experiencing anaphylaxis should be placed in a comfortable position.
If the person's breathing or heart stops, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be performed immediately.
You will need to go to hospital for observation – usually for 6-12 hours – as the symptoms can occasionally return during this period.
While in hospital:
You should be able to go home when the symptoms are under control and it's thought they will not return quickly. This will usually be after a few hours, but may be longer if the reaction was severe.
You may be asked to take antihistamines (an anti-allergy medicine) and steroid tablets for a few days after leaving hospital to help stop your symptoms returning.
You will also probably be asked to attend a follow-up appointment with an allergy specialist so you can be given advice about how you can avoid further episodes of anaphylaxis.
Adrenaline auto-injectors may be provided for emergency use between leaving hospital and attending the follow-up appointment.