If someone is having a severe allergic reaction, it is vital that they receive an adrenaline injection. If they have their own adrenaline, this must be given as soon as a severe reaction is suspected to be occurring and an ambulance must be called immediately. If the patient is alone or is unable to self-administer, the adrenaline should be administered first then an ambulance should be called immediately after.
- Try to ensure that a person suffering an allergic reaction remains as still as possible
- Preferably they should be lying down and if they are feeling weak, dizzy or appear pale and sweating their legs should be raised
- When dialling 999, say that the person is suffering from anaphylaxis (anna-fill-axis)
- Give clear and precise directions to the emergency operator, including the postcode of your location
- If adrenaline has been given, make a note of the time this was administered. A second dose can be given after five minutes if there has been no improvement
- If the person’s condition deteriorates after making the initial 999 call, a second call to the emergency services should be made to ensure an ambulance has been dispatched
- Send someone outside to direct the ambulance crew when they arrive
- Try to ascertain what food or substance may have caused the reaction and ensure the ambulance crew knows this.
The text on this page and the content of our film entitled “Think ABC” has been reviewed and approved by Sue Clarke, Nurse Adviser to the Anaphylaxis Campaign.
All the information we produce is evidence based or follows expert opinion and checked by our expert Clinical and research reviewers. If you wish to know the sources we used in producing any of our information products, please let us know, and we will gladly supply details.
Published date: November 2018
Review Date: November 2021
Our film Think ABC explains how you can spot an anaphylaxis reaction and how to safely treat it. You can find it on YouTube here.
This film was extensively reviewed when it was first published in 2016 and has now been re-reviewed (2018) by Sue Clarke, Nurse Adviser to the Anaphylaxis Campaign.
Step by Step Poster
Our poster explains what you should do in an emergency. You can download it here.