Cases of severe allergic reactions to trigger agents, for example food or bites and stings, can lead to anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is very serious and can be fatal.
If you think someone is having an allergic reaction, seek medical advice urgently as symptoms can worsen rapidly. If breathing is affected, call triple zero (000).
Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:
- swelling of the mouth, throat or tongue
- difficulty swallowing
- difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or wheezing
- difficulty talking
- a rash that may appear anywhere on the body
- itching – usually around your eyes, ears, lips, throat or roof of the mouth
- flushing (feeling hot and red)
- stomach cramps, feeling or being sick
- feeling weak
- collapsing or falling unconscious.
The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy recommends that for a severe allergic reaction adrenaline is the initial treatment. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
If the person has a ‘personal action plan’ to manage a known severe allergy, they may need assistance to follow their plan. This may include administering adrenaline to the person via an autoinjector (such as an Epipen®) if one is available.
For more information on anaphylaxis, including setting up a personal action plan, go to www.allergy.org.au.
People with diagnosed allergies should avoid all trigger agents and confirmed allergens and have a readily accessible anaphylaxis action plan and medical alert device. It’s wise to ensure your friends and family know how to follow your anaphylaxis action plan too in case you need help.
Follow the links below to find trusted information about anaphylaxis.
Last reviewed: November 2016