Anaphylaxis – First Aid to Save Lives

Understand the dangers of anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. It is caused by the immune system over-reacting.

Anaphylaxis can be caused by a variety of food or non-food items. Triggers include nuts, shellfish, milk, and insect stings, but it is important to note these examples are not exhaustive as an anaphylactic reaction can be caused by anything if it contains an allergen that an individual cannot tolerate.

People can react to tiny amounts of food, even kissing someone who has eaten a peanut could trigger a reaction.

The body detects an allergen and reacts by releasing histamine from cells in the blood and tissues which then causes swelling. This can make it difficult to swallow and breathe meaning the situation can become life threatening in seconds.

What are the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis?

The sufferer may have the following:

  • Swollen tongue, lips and throat
  • Wheezing, difficulty breathing and their chest may feel tight
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Hives or a rash
  • Nausea and vomiting

It is important to note that not all symptoms may be experienced. If several are present treat for anaphylaxis and get medical assistance.


1.           Call 999/112

2.           Lay the casualty down and ask them if they have their auto-injector.

3.           Assist the casualty with their auto-injector by following the instructions written on the device.

4.           Be prepared to assist with a second injection if there is no improvement.

5.           Start CPR if the casualty becomes unconscious or stops breathing.