Anaphylaxis emergency care
Anaphylaxis always requires an emergency response. Using an autoinjector to administer adrenaline and calling an ambulance is the emergency response for anaphylaxis.
This page includes information about:
The emergency response plan - ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis
Students diagnosed at risk of anaphylaxis must have an emergency response plan as a part of their individual health care plan. For anaphylaxis the emergency response plan is an ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis completed and signed by the child's prescribing doctor.
ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis are available from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) website.
There are two plans for anaphylaxis:
- ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis-personal for a specific student who has been prescribed an adrenaline autoinjector (different versions of the plan are available for each of the autoinjectors).
- ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis-general that does not include information about a specific student that can be used as a poster (different versions of the plan are available for each of the autoinjectors).
The above ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis can be used for individuals with food and insect allergies. The plans include instructions on how to use an adrenaline autoinjector and a copy should therefore always be stored with the autoinjector.
A third ASCIA Action Plan is available for individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate allergies (ASCIA Action Plan for Allergic Reactions-personal) when no adrenaline autoinjector has been prescribed.
It is the role of the parent to provide the school with the appropriate ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis completed and signed by their child's prescribing doctor.
This plan should be posted in suitable locations for easy reference as discussed with the parent and where appropriate, the student. If copies are required then the original signed copy, prepared by the doctor, should be photocopied.
Where a student has a medical diagnosis of asthma and anaphylaxis the student's individual health care plan should take account of both conditions. If a student is having a reaction and staff are not sure if it is asthma or anaphylaxis, ASCIA, the peak professional body for allergy and anaphylaxis recommend the following:
In an individual with asthma, who is also at risk of anaphylaxis, the adrenaline autoinjector should be used first, followed by asthma reliever medication, calling an ambulance, continuing asthma first aid and following the ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis.
Further information about asthma can be found on the student health section of the public schools website and the physical as anything website.
Adrenaline Autoinjectors (EpiPen and Anapen)
Adrenaline autoinjectors contain a single dose of adrenaline and are designed as a first aid device for use by people without formal medical or nursing training. Two brands are available in Australia, the EpiPen and the Anapen. A junior device is available in each brand for small children (who weigh between 10 and 20kg).
It is important for school staff to be aware that EpiPen devices look and operate differently to the Anapen devices.
The design of the EpiPen device has been updated. The new design has a blue safety cap and orange needle end. From 30 June 2012 any student prescribed an EpiPen should have a new design EpiPen. All previous version EpiPens (those with a grey safety cap and a black needle end) will have reached their expiry date.
A student's individual health care plan for anaphylaxis should outline a process for replacing used and expired adrenaline autoinjectors in a timely way.
It is the role of the parent to provide the prescribed adrenaline autoinjector and to replace it when it expires or after it has been used. Where the doctor prescribes a new adrenaline autoinjector they will issue an updated ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis. It is important for the individual health care plan to include the current ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis signed and dated by the child's prescribing doctor.
Both the NSW Anaphylaxis Education Training Program and the e-training include instruction in administering the EpiPen and the Anapen.
Timing of administering adrenaline autoinjectors
If an adrenaline autoinjector is administered it is important to note the time of administration. If there is no change in the student's condition after 5 minutes (i.e there is no response) a second adrenaline autoinjector should be administered to the student if available.
Information about the time that a student has been administered an adrenaline autoinjector should also be provided to ambulance personnel when they arrive at the school.
Another student's adrenaline autoinjector may be used if a second adrenaline autoinjector is required, or a general use adrenaline autoinjector purchased by the school, if available
If there are concerns that the other student may be placed at risk by using their adrenaline autoinjector he or she can be transported to hospital.
Frequently asked questions about adrenaline autoinjectors can be found on the ASCIA website.