Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can develop rapidly and is potentially life-threatening.

It is a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment. More than one body system may be involved; however, the most dangerous allergic reactions involve the respiratory system and/or cardiovascular system.

Anaphylaxis develops rapidly, usually reaching peak severity within 5 to 30 minutes, and may, though rarely, last for several days.

Causes or common triggers

Food - peanuts, tree nuts (e.g. hazelnuts, cashews, almonds), eggs, cow’s milk, wheat, soybean, fish, shellfish. Even trace amounts can cause anaphylaxis. Extremely sensitive individuals may even react to a food smell.
Insect venom - most commonly bee, wasp and jack jumper ant stings; sometimes, ticks, green ants and fire ants.
Medication and drugs - over-the-counter and prescribed, e.g. Penicillin, herbal or alternative medicines.
Other triggers - less common - such as latex or exercise.

Emergency treatment

Adrenaline is administered via an autoinjector and works rapidly to reverse the signs and symptoms.  In most cases, effects will be felt within seconds.

Management is the key. A personalised written anaphylaxis emergency action plan is recommended for people who know they have severe allergic reactions. Medical Identification (e.g., bracelet, wallet card) is also recommended.

Allens Training on the Sunshine Coast offer a range of First Aid Charts that are FREE for you to download, including an anaphylaxis chart.

If you work in a school or childcare centre, we even have a ‘Nut Free Zone’ chart you can display in your centre.

Please note, these charts don’t replace the need for nationally recognised first aid training, but are certainly good supporting materials. Support can also be found at the Australian Society of clinical immunology and allergy (ASCIA).

To book into your next first aid course please book online via our secure website or phone 07 5438 8888.

If you are located on the Sunshine Coast and would like us to post you out hardcopy charts for your workplace, send us an email and we can arrange for some to be posted out.



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ACN 114 756 857