Allergic reactions: Symptoms and course of action

Allergic reactions: Symptoms and course of action

How can you tell if someone is having an allergic reaction and what should you do?

Mild to moderate

Mild to moderate allergic reactions can include:

  • Hives, welts or a rash
  • Swelling of lips, face or eyes
  • Stomach pains
  • Vomiting

Course of action:

  • Stay with the person and call for help
  • Give medications (if prescribed)
  • Locate EpiPen® or EpiPen® Jr (this is a device carried by people with allergies which contains adrenaline)
  • Contact parent/caregiver (if a child)
  • Watch for signs of anaphyalxis


Severe allergic reactions are called anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening emergency; it can come on very quickly and
people at risk usually carry a life-saving adrenaline auto-injector with them at all times.

Symptoms of severe allergic reactions include:

  • Difficulty/noisy breathing
  • Swelling of tongue
  • Swelling/tightness in throat
  • A wheeze or persistent cough
  • Loss of consciousness and/or collapse
  • And if a young child, they can become pale and floppy

Course of action:

  • Give EpiPen® or EpiPen® Jr
  • Call 111 – state "anaphylaxis; need adrenaline"
  • Contact parent/caregiver (if a child)

If in doubt, give EpiPen®

Source: Australasian Society of Clinical Imunology & Allergy Inc.
Author: Sara-Jane Murison

Healthy Food Guide

First published: Jan 2007

2017-04-03 17:20:54

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