If someone is having a severe allergic reaction, it is vital that they receive an adrenaline injection. If they have their own adrenaline auto-injector (AAI), this must be given as soon as a severe reaction is suspected to be occurring and an ambulance must be called. The adrenaline should be administered first and an ambulance should be called immediately afterwards.
- Try to ensure that a person suffering an allergic reaction remains as still as possible
- Preferably they should be lying down. 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
- If you are in a restaurant or other building, 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
To find a location more easily in an emergency, many UK emergency services are encouraging people to use the what3words app.
You can find out about it here
To find out more about anaphylaxis and its treatment (adrenaline), click on the links below;
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 and approved by Sue Clarke, Nurse Adviser to the Anaphylaxis Campaign.
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 is 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