Patients HCP

Living with anaphylaxis

Living with Anaphylaxis

There are many things you can do to reduce the risk of a severe reaction. Regardless of your age, whether you are young or old or what type of allergy you have, there are some ‘rules’ you should live by. These aren’t designed to limit your activities, but they will help protect you.

1. Try to avoid your triggers. This means you need to learn what your triggers are, and where they might be lurking.

2. Carry 2 EpiPen® with you wherever you go. Don’t leave home without them! You may find it easier to keep your pens in different places, such as work / school and home.

3. Make sure you know how to use your EpiPen® – practise regularly.

4. Check the expiry date of your EpiPen® regularly. Make sure you sign up to the Expiry Alert Service to receive an automatic reminder.

EpiPen Expiry Alert Service
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5. Don’t delay. If you think you have come into contact with your trigger and start to experience serious symptoms you must use your EpiPen® immediately. If your symptoms are milder, have your EpiPen® ready just in case the symptoms get worse, which can happen very quickly. You must call 999, ask for an ambulance and state ‘anaphylaxis’ (pronounced ‘anna-fill-axis’) immediately after using your EpiPen®.

Stay lying down or seated and have someone stay with you until you have been assessed by a paramedic. Unconscious patients should be placed in the recovery position.

For some simple tips, advice and resources that will help you living with anaphylaxis visit the different sections below.

Going places

Have a great time – by being prepared!

 

If you’re going abroad, on holiday or on business, it’s very important to be ready if you have an episode of anaphylaxis.

Travelling with EpiPen

Follow these steps to make sure you are always prepared:

  • Make sure that you have sufficient EpiPen® auto-injectors with you. Remember it may be difficult and expensive to replace any you use while abroad. Organise this with your GP several weeks before.
  • Contact the airline or travel agent before you book and explain that you have a severe allergy. Airlines will often require a letter from your doctor to allow you to carry your EpiPen® with you onto the aircraft. Download and print off a Travel Certificate for your doctor to fill in – make sure you get it done in good time before you travel. If you have a food allergy, you should also discuss meal options (if provided).
  • Find out the location of the nearest hospital/emergency centre.
  • If you have a food allergy, always read labels carefully. If you are eating out, including take-aways, always ask questions about exactly what is in your food and drinks. If you’re not sure, don’t eat or drink it – not even a little bit, as just a small amount of your trigger could cause an allergic reaction.

EpiPen® is available in many countries around the world and are used in climates that are very different from ours.

When travelling you should take the same care as you would in the UK. Your EpiPen® should:

  • never be exposed to direct sunlight or extreme heat or cold for a long time
  • never be refrigerated or frozen
  • always be kept in the hard carry case it is supplied in

Parents and carers

EpiPen Reminder

Being the parent or carer of a person with anaphylaxis can be worrying. Make sure you know how to recognise the signs of anaphylaxis and what to do if it happens as this can help ease that worry. Make a note of when pens are due to expire or register with our Expiry Alert Service for free reminders.

At school:

  • Inform and educate teachers and other carers at the school about your child’s allergy and how to manage it.
  • Give a copy of your child’s Action Plan for Anaphylaxis to the school.
  • Visit the canteen to see what foods are stocked and how you can work with the canteen and school staff so that your child can eat safe foods.
  • Work with teachers to ensure other children do NOT share food with your child.
  • Ensure teachers are aware of and have been trained on how to use EpiPen®.

Preparing your child

  • Make sure your child understands what may trigger anaphylaxis and learns to recognise his or her symptoms.
  • As soon as symptoms appear make sure your child knows to tell the teacher immediately, no matter what else is happening.
  • Make sure your child knows not to take food from other children. Explain that some types of food can make them very sick.
  • Make sure your child knows where his or her EpiPen® is stored.

Helpful links

Information and advice for anyone at risk from anaphylaxis is available from these helpful sources:

The Anaphylaxis Campaign
The only UK- wide charity committed to meeting the needs of people at risk from anaphylaxis For more information, visit www.anaphylaxis.org.uk.

Allergy UK (The British Allergy Foundation)
Offer a helpline and advice for sufferers of allergy and similar conditions
For more information, visit http://www.allergyuk.org/


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