Looking for more information on anaphylaxis symptoms and treatment? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together a selection of handy FAQs below for your convenience.
A: Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction to a trigger substance. It can be potentially life threatening and must be treated as a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment. Anaphylaxis can develop suddenly and become rapidly worse in a short period of time.
A: According to Health Direct, common symptoms can include:
- Difficult/noisy breathing
- Swelling of the tongue
- Swelling/tightness in the throat
- Difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
- Wheeze or persistent cough
- Persistent dizziness and/or collapse
- Pale and floppy (in young children)
Anaphylaxis may also become evident through less severe symptoms, such as:
- Swelling of the face, lips and/or eyes
- Hives or welts
- Abdominal pain and vomiting (these are signs of anaphylaxis for insect allergy)
A: Common triggers include various food types, medications, and insect stings.
A: No – anaphylaxis is an individual systemic reaction to a trigger.
A: The Australian Society of Clinical Immunology & Allergy (ASCIA) recommends the following:
- Remove Allergen | if still present
- Call for Assistance
- Lay Patient Flat | do not allow them to stand or walk; do not hold infants upright; if breathing is difficult, allow them to sit; if unconscious, place in recovery position
- Adrenaline (epinephrine) is the first line treatment for anaphylaxis | give intramuscular injection (IMI) adrenaline into outer mid-thigh without delay using an adrenaline autoinjector if available OR adrenaline ampoule/syringe
- Give oxygen | if available
- Call ambulance | to transport patient if not already in a hospital setting
- CPR | if required at any time, commence CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
Use Expiry-Alert to help manage anaphylaxis
About Anaphylactic Shock Treatment
A: Adrenaline (epinephrine) is the first response for treating anaphylactic shock – EpiPens and Anapens are two brands of adrenaline autoinjectors that allow for quick and easy injection of adrenaline. It is essential to call an ambulance as soon as possible, after the patient has received adrenaline.
A: In an emergency situation it is enough to understand the basic immediate response needed (as detailed above) until medical help can arrive. However if you or someone you know is diagnosed with anaphylaxis, first aid is highly recommended – particularly knowledge of the recovery position (for unconscious patients) and CPR (cardiovascular resuscitation) in extreme cases.
A: Without immediate treatment, anaphylaxis can be fatal. It places huge stress on the airways (restricting oxygen) and heart, and can contribute to serious conditions such as heart attacks and brain damage, in addition to worsening pre-existing medical conditions.
Q: Is there any way to treat anaphylactic shock without an EpiPen, Anapen or other brand adrenaline autoinjector?
A: According to A&AA, if you do not have an adrenaline autoinjector, take the following steps:
- 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
- Call an Ambulance
A: No. Antihistamines ARE NOT effective treatment for anaphylactic shock.
Ask us about Expiry-Alert for your anaphylaxis action plan
A: Most pen brands typically expire 1 – 2 years from the date of manufacture.
A: Depending on the retailer, prices can range between approximately $80 – $150 in Australia and New Zealand.
A: A minimum of two autoinjector adrenaline devices are typically recommended – one to be kept on your person (or for parental use at home for younger children), and the other to be kept at work or childcare / school.
A: Yes. According to ASCIA, there are two does of adrenaline currently available:
- EpiPen (0.3mg) | usually prescribed for adults and children over 20kg
- EpiPen Jr (0.15mg) | usually prescribed for children 7.5 – 20kg
- Anapen (0.30mg) | usually prescribed for adults and children over 30kg
- Anapen Junior (0.15mg) | usually prescribed for children 15kg – 30kg
Some adults may require two doses to result in effective treatment.
A: Please go to the following Health Direct webpage for detailed instructions on how to use an adrenaline autoinjector
A: Yes. It is essential to seek professional medical assistance following an anaphylactic reaction
A: According to ASCIA, EpiPen storage instructions include:
- Store in a cool dark place at room temperature between 15-25°C
- Sote in an insulated wallet if temperatures are warmer or colder than recommended range
- DO NOT refrigerate – temperatures below 15°C can damage the autoinjector mechanism