Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening systemic allergic reaction. It can be triggered by a broad range of allergens.
Because the onset of anaphylaxis can be very fast, the individual should use an adrenaline auto-injector at the first signs of a severe reaction, then call for emergency medical help.
Who can administer an adrenaline auto-injector (epipen®) to a casualty in an emergency?
Well, anyone can, but would they know how?
Usually in the UK the Medicines Act means that a lay person cannot administer a prescription medication to another person.
The exception to this is the administration of specific prescription only medicines (including adrenaline) when the purpose is to save a life.
Anaphylaxis training is included as standard on all our courses
Signs of a severe reaction include:
- swelling in the throat (altered voice, difficulty swallowing or breathing)
- dizziness, feeling faint, tiredness (symptoms of low blood pressure)
Our advice for Nurseries
- Ensure that at an appropriate number of staff have been trained to use the particular auto-injector that has been prescribed to a child in their care. Injection technique varies between injectors.
- Make sure that any child in your care has two adrenaline auto-injectors at all times. This is particularly important for people who also have allergic asthma as they are at increased risk of a severe anaphylactic reaction.
- Check the expiry dates on auto-injectors regularly and obtain replacements before they expire.
What to do if a child is having an anaphylactic reaction
- Use the adrenaline auto-injector at the first signs of a severe allergic reaction
Take the following actions immediately after administering adrenaline:
- Call 999. Ask for an ambulance and state ‘anaphylaxis’.
- Lie the child flat with their legs raised in order to maintain blood flow. If they have breathing difficulties sit them up to make breathing easier.
- Seek help immediately after using the auto-injector and stay with them with them until the ambulance arrives.
- If the child does not start to feel better use the second auto-injector 5-15 minutes after the first.