Anaphylaxis Awareness Week 2023

Anaphylaxis Awareness Week is dedicated to raising awareness about life-threatening allergies and empowering individuals with the knowledge and confidence to safely manage these serious conditions.

Anaphylaxis Awareness Week, this week 1st October - 7th October focuses on equipping people with the right information to make informed choices and take proactive steps in preventing anaphylaxis.

What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis, pronounced as "anna-fill-axis," constitutes a severe allergic response necessitating immediate medical attention. It can transpire when an individual comes into contact with a substance they are allergic to, known as an allergen. Symptoms typically manifest within minutes and can swiftly escalate, though they may also emerge up to 2-3 hours later.

Sign and symptoms

Anaphylaxis is typically recognised by healthcare experts when it leads to breathing difficulties or affects heart rhythm and blood pressure. In severe instances, it can result in a significant drop in blood pressure, causing weakness, loss of consciousness, and in rare cases, potential fatality.

Any one or more of the following symptoms may be present – these are often referred to as the ABC symptoms.

  • AIRWAY -swelling in the throat, tongue, or upper airways (tightening of the throat, hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing)

  • BREATHING - sudden onset wheezing, breathing difficulty, noisy breathing

  • CIRCULATION - dizziness, feeling faint, sudden sleepiness, tiredness, confusion, pale clammy skin, loss of consciousness

What to do in an emergency

Get into position

If you have any symptoms of anaphylaxis stay where you are. You should lie flat with your legs raised to help blood flow back to your heart and vital organs.

If you are struggling to breathe, you may need to be propped up, but this should be for as short a time as possible.

You must avoid any sudden change in posture. You must not stand up, or sit in a chair, even if you are feeling better. This could lower your blood pressure drastically, causing your heart to stop.

Use your Adrenaline auto-injector

Anaphylaxis can come on very quickly.  As soon as you suspect anaphylaxis you must use one of your adrenaline auto-injectors (AAI) without delay.

Don’t wait to see how bad it is, or whether it will get worse. If in doubt, use your AAI.

Your AAI should be given into the muscle in your outer thigh. It can be given through clothes if necessary, avoiding bulky pockets or seams. Specific instructions vary by brand – always follow the instructions on your device.

For more information regarding Anaphylaxis visit Anaphylaxis UK