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Anaphylaxis

10% of children and adults under the age of 45 have 2 or more allergies with hospital admission for food allergies increasing by 500% in the last 30 years. 

Anaphylaxis is a severe and often sudden allergic reaction often associated with certain foods (but can be caused by other substances). It can happen if someone is exposed to something they are severely allergic to. This type of reaction can come on extremely quickly (within  minutes). Anaphylaxis is life threatening and its important to act quickly if someone you are with is having an allergic reaction. 

An anaphylactic reaction is caused by the sudden release of chemical substances, including histamine, from cells in the blood and tissues where they are stored. The release is triggered by the reaction between the allergic antibody and the substance the person is allergic to. Extremely small amounts of an allergic substance can cause a reaction. The released chemicals act on blood vessels to cause the swelling in the mouth and anywhere on the skin. There is a fall in blood pressure and, in asthmatics; the effect is mainly on the lungs.

  • Anaphylaxis should always be treated as a medical emergency. If available, an injection of a medicine called adrenaline should be given as soon as possible. 

    Some people with a previous history of anaphylaxis will have an auto-injector of adrenaline.

    Adrenaline acts quickly to open up the airways, reduce their swelling and raise the blood pressure. To work effectively, it must be given as soon as possible if there are any signs of a severe allergic reaction. With early treatment those more severe symptoms are easier to reverse. To find out more about the treatment of Anaphylaxis *click here*

  • Anaphylaxis can cause a range of different symptoms in different people. Listed below are common symptoms to look out for if someone is experiencing Anaphylaxis; 

    • Nettle rash anywhere on the body.
    • Swelling of throat and mouth.
    • Difficulty in swallowing or speaking.
    • Alterations in heart rate.
    • Severe asthma.
    • Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
    • Sudden feeling of weakness (drop in blood pressure).
    • A sense of impending doom or helplessness.
    • Collapse and unconsciousness.

    Anaphylaxis can be caused by a variety of different triggers, so it is important that the pupil with allergies avoids their particular trigger. These could include;  

    • Food allergies. Make sure all food ingredient labels are carefully reviewed to check for allergens. It is important that the pupils caregivers let the school know if their child has history of anaphylaxis. A plan should then be put in place to make sure that pupil doesn't come into contact with any triggers. 
    • Medications. Certain medications, including antibiotics, aspirin and other over-the-counter pain relievers.
    • Insect stings. To help them prevent being stung, avoid walking barefoot in grass, drinking from open soft drink cans, wearing bright colored clothing with flowery patterns, sweet smelling perfumes, hairsprays and lotion during active insect season. 

    To find out more about the types of foods and substances that can cause Anaphylaxis *click here*

  • We recommend that for Anaphylaxis, appropriate training is accessed from the specialist organisations. Taking advantage of these training packages means the school can access the training when they require it, knowing it is being provided by experts so the information will be current and credible.

    Training links are;

  • Training Packs And Resources

    Every school is likely to have at least one pupil who is severely allergic to a type of food, and many schools will have more. For many children, the symptoms of allergy are mild, however, occasionally the symptoms are severe and they may even be life-threatening. So its important that staff and pupils at the school are made aware of how to react if a child has an allergic reaction.

     

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