Are we truly anaphylaxis aware?

Being anaphylaxis aware can make all the difference when every second counts.

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction that can occur suddenly, often triggered by allergens such as foods, insect stings, medications, or latex. While the term “anaphylaxis” might not be familiar to everyone, the importance of being anaphylaxis aware cannot be overstated.

With recent news coverage casting a spotlight on anaphylaxis, a crucial question arises: Are we all truly anaphylaxis aware?

Being anaphylaxis aware can make all the difference when every second counts. Recognising the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and knowing what to do in an emergency is vital.

The ABCs of anaphylaxis

Signs of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) include one or more of the following symptoms. Remember your ABCs are crucial, as the first signs of anaphylaxis may not appear like previous reactions.


  • Swollen tongue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Throat tightness
  • Change in voice (hoarse/croaky)


  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Noisy breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Wheeze


  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Pale and floppy (in babies/small children)

Recognising the signs and symptoms early and treating quickly with the medicine ‘adrenaline’ is vital to save lives.

How to correctly administer an adrenaline auto-injector

Amena Warner, our Head of Clinical Services at Allergy UK, is here to guide you through life-saving devices used in anaphylaxis emergencies – adrenaline auto-injectors – and provides a step-by-step guide on how to correctly use both available brands of these devices in the UK.


  • If you suspect someone is having a severe allergic reaction, give adrenaline WITHOUT DELAY – if available. If in doubt, give adrenaline!
  • Lie the person flat with legs raised. If breathing is difficult allow to sit with legs raised. Do not stand the person up!
  • Dial 999 for an ambulance and state anaphylaxis (ana -fill- axis) to get medical help as soon as possible.
  • Always carry two AAIs with you at all times. If symptoms do not improve within 5 minutes, administer the second AAI in the other thigh.