This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Anaphylaxis: know what to do

Written by: | Published:

Wearing an Epipen on the beach. Common triggers ar Wearing an Epipen on the beach. Common triggers are seafood and stings

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction which may be the result of hypersensitivity.1 The hypersensitive reaction may be generalised or systemic, and tends to occur within minutes. It can be considered an allergic reaction, which may or may not have an immunological basis.2

The airway is often compromised as a result of pharyngeal or laryngeal oedema causing breathing difficulty. Increased respiratory rate or bronchospasm can cause these breathing difficulties. There might be evidence of circulatory compromise, such as hypotension and an increased heart rate. In most cases of anaphylaxis, skin and mucosal changes occur. Skin changes include flushing and urticaria. Symptoms can worsen rapidly.

It is of note that the incidence of anaphylactic reactions in the UK is increasing, according to data from the Resuscitation Council (UK).2

Patients that have previously had an allergic reaction may be at an increased risk of developing an anaphylactic reaction. There is an increased risk of anaphylaxis associated with other comorbidities, such as asthma. The risk of anaphylaxis is increased if asthma is poorly controlled.2

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.