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Allergy and anaphylaxis

An allergy is an over reaction that some peoples bodies have against certain substances like pollen, gluten and peanuts. An allergy can be as mild as a slight swelling or discolouration of the skin, right through to the patient not been able to breath. In the case of the later, an allergy can become life threatening very quickly.

Anaphylaxis is the term used to describe a severe allergic reaction, which must always be treated as a medical emergency.

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Signs & Symptoms

Mild to moderate allergic reaction (may precede anaphylaxis) may include:
* Swelling of the lips, face, eyes;
* Hives or welts;
* Tingling mouth;
* Abdominal pain and vomiting.

Anaphylaxis may include one or more of the following;
* Difficulty and/or noisy breathing;
* Swelling of the tongue;
* Swelling/tightness of the throat;
* Difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice;
* Wheezing and/or coughing;
* Persistent dizziness or collapse;
* Young children may be pale and floppy.

Management for Anaphylaxis

2) Help patient to half sit or lie in a position that assists breathing.

3) If the patient is carrying an auto-injector (e.g. Epipen®, AnaPen®), it should be used at once. Let the patient administer the auto-injector themselves, or ask if they require assistance.
* If unconscious (Immediately administer the adrenaline autoinjector as indicated on their medication action plan or as directed on the autoinjector)

4) Keep the patient in a lying or half sitting position. Observe and record pulse and breathing.

5) If no response after 5 minutes, further adrenaline may be given - as directed in medicatoin action plan or on the autoinjector packaging.