Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that happens very quickly. It can be caused by food, medicine or insect stings.
Call 112 / 911 / 999 (or another number for a country you're in) if you think you or someone else is having an anaphylactic reaction.
Check if it's anaphylaxis
Symptoms of anaphylaxis happen very quickly.
They usually start within minutes of coming into contact with something you're allergic to, such as a food, medicine or insect sting.
If the person is wearing ifTrouble Item you can check the indicated allergies on the person's page by scanning QR code on the Item.
swelling of a throat and tongue
difficulty breathing or breathing very fast
difficulty swallowing, tightness in a throat or a hoarse voice
wheezing, coughing or noisy breathing
feeling tired or confused
feeling faint, dizzy or fainting
skin that feels cold to the touch
blue, grey or pale skin, lips or tongue – if the person has brown or black skin, this may be easier to see on the palms of their hands or soles of their feet
It can also cause a rash that's swollen, raised or itchy.
What to do if you have anaphylaxis
Use an adrenaline auto-injector if you have one – instructions are included on the side of the injector.
Call 112 / 911 / 999 (or another number for a country you're in) for an ambulance and say that you think you're having an anaphylactic reaction.
Lie down – you can raise your legs, and if you're struggling to breathe, raise your shoulders or sit up slowly (if you're pregnant, lie on your left side).
If you have been stung by an insect, try to remove the sting if it's still in the skin.
If your symptoms have not improved after 5 minutes, use a 2nd adrenaline auto-injector.
Do not stand or walk at any time, even if you feel better.
Treatment for anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis needs to be treated in hospital immediately.
Treatments can include
adrenaline given by an injection or drip in your vein
fluids given by a drip in your vein
Things you can do to help prevent anaphylaxis
Avoid the food, medicine or thing that you're allergic to – for example, if you have a food allergy, check food labels carefully and tell staff at restaurants and cafes about your allergy
Carry 2 adrenaline auto-injectors with you at all times
Check your adrenaline auto-injector expiry dates regularly and get new ones before they expire
Practice how to use your adrenaline auto-injector by using a trainer injector (an injector that has no needle or medicine in it) – you can order one online from the company that makes your injector
Teach friends, family, colleagues or carers how and when to use your adrenaline auto-injector
Use your adrenaline auto-injector if you think you may have anaphylaxis, even if your symptoms are mild
Wear medical alert jewellery such as a bracelet with information about your allergy – this tells other people about your allergy in case of an emergency
Do not leave your adrenaline auto-injectors anywhere too hot or cold such as in the fridge or outside in the sun