It’s that time again! The flowers will be in bloom, along with pollen, and those seasonal allergies. There are different types of allergies and different triggers for different people. For most these allergies are harmless. There are those who can react in a more severe way and potentially life threatening. This is called anaphylaxis. Here are ways you can recognise anaphylaxis, what the first line of treatment is, and how to management it.


Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. This should always be treated a medical emergency. This occurs after being exposed to an allergen like certain foods, insects, or medicines.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis can include any of the following:

  • Difficulty or noisy breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling or tightness in the throat
  • Difficulty talking or a hoarse voice
  • Wheeze or persistent cough
  • Persistent dizziness and/or collapse
  • Pale and floppy (in young children)

The Cause

It is important to help identify the cause. Writing down a list of foods or medicines consumed that day would help along with any exposure to insects. This will also help exclude conditions that can sometimes be confused with anaphylaxis. If an allergy is suspected, it may be followed by an allergy test like a blood test that is allergen specific.


Adrenaline is the first like of treatment for anaphylaxis. Adrenaline works to rapidly reverse the effects of anaphylaxis. Autoinjectors of adrenaline contain a single, fixed dose of adrenaline. They have been designed so that non-medical people can use it, even by the patient themselves.

An adrenaline autoinjector should only be prescribed as a part of a comprehensive anaphylaxis management plan.

Fact: There has been an estimated one new case per 5000 people per year.

Living with Anaphylaxis

Having anaphylaxis doesn’t mean your life is over. Many lead close to normal lives even if they are living with a life-threatening allergic reaction. You may feel alone, overwhelmed or even angry when first diagnosed. There is help and support available.

Here are some points to help point you in the right direction when living with anaphylaxis.

  • Get up to date information and support by subscribing to Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia. Subscribe Now.
  • Always carry your medication with you
  • Plan ahead
  • Allow extra time when shopping – always read the ingredients and understand the different names they go by
  • Educate those around you
  • Keep up to date with products changes and the latest research
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions
  • Remember to read the expiry dates on your adrenaline injector a.k.a. EpiPen
  • Practise with a trainer device and read through your Action Plan for Anaphylaxis
  • Stay under the care of an allergy specialist and see them every one to two years or as advised