Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe (which is called anaphylaxis), and can be potentially life-threatening if not treated properly. Those with severe allergies will generally have an anaphylaxis action plan, an adrenaline auto-injector, or a medical alert device in place.

As allergic reactions can vary in severity, Sonder is here to support you in the event of an anaphylaxis incident. Our team of trained nurses and medical professionals are always available to help you whenever you need advice on what to do and will walk you through what you need to do. Just start a chat or give us a call via the home screen of the Sonder app - we’ll be with you in seconds.

For more information on anaphylaxis, here’s a guide on what to look out for and what to do.

Signs and symptoms

Mild to moderate allergic reactions that precede anaphylaxis may have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Swelling of face and tongue

  • Hives, welts or body redness

  • Tingling mouth

  • Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea

The main symptoms of a severe allergic reaction are rapidly developing breathing and circulation problems. Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • • Wheeze or persistent cough

  • • Difficult or noisy breathing

  • • Difficulty talking or a hoarse voice

  • • Swelling or tightness in throat

  • • Faintness, dizziness

  • • Confusion

  • • Loss of consciousness

  • • Pallor and floppiness (in young children)

In an emergency situation

  • In an emergency such as a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an asthma attack where breathing is difficult, call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

  • Anaphylaxis needs emergency first aid. The first line treatment is injection of adrenaline (epinephrine) into the outer mid-thigh. Do not allow the person to stand or walk. Give further doses of adrenaline if there is no response after 5 minutes.

  • If your doctor says you are at risk of a severe allergic reaction, be sure to carry a device to inject adrenaline (EpiPen or Anapen) and a mobile phone to call for help.

What to do

  1. Do not allow the patient to stand or walk. Help the patient to lie down flat, or if breathing is difficult, allow the patient to sit.

  2. Ask the patient if they need help with their action plan if they have one. Only help the patient if they request it. If the patient is unable to give verbal consent, administer an adrenaline auto-injector immediately.

  3. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

  4. Monitor the patient. If there is no improvement after 5 minutes, use another adrenaline auto-injector, if available.

How to give an EpiPen

  1. Form a fist around the EpiPen and pull off the blue safety release.

  2. Hold the patient's leg still and place the orange end against the patient’s outer mid-thigh (with or without clothing).

  3. Push down hard until a click is heard or felt, and hold in place for 3 seconds.

  4. Remove the EpiPen.

If you are at risk of a severe allergic reaction then here are some tips which can help you avoid serious consequences.

  • Have an ASCIA - Action Plan for Anaphylaxis.

  • Carry a mobile phone to call for help when needed.

  • Carry an adrenaline injector (EpiPen or Anapen) to treat a severe allergic reaction.

  • Consider wearing medical identification jewellery – this increases the likelihood that adrenaline will be administered in an emergency.

  • Avoid medication (where possible) that may increase the severity of an allergic reaction or complicate its treatment – such as beta blockers.

  • Avoid the known allergen where possible.

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: St John Ambulance Australia and Better Health.

Image credit: cottonbro at Pexels

All content in Sonder's Help Centre is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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