Emergency allergy medication: 5 key facts
Understanding what to do in an emergency can be a life-saving measure for people with severe allergies. Everyone with a severe allergy should have an ASCIA Action Plan and think about regularly refreshing themselves on how to use their medication. Here are a few other key points to bear in mind:
- Always have your medication close by
Do not keep it in a car, locked classroom or backpack that is not with you
- If you are food allergic always have your prescribed medication with you if you plan to eat
If you are not 100% sure of the food ingredients, or you don’t have your prescribed medication with you, don’t eat!
- If you start to have a reaction, follow your ASCIA action plan
If you are having a severe allergic reaction always use your prescribed medication for anaphylaxis. Don’t take antihistamines and wait and see (antihistamines will only help reduce the itch and slowly help reduce swelling – they do not help prevent a reaction from progressing to anaphylaxis nor do they treat anaphylaxis).
- If necessary, use anaphylaxis medication first and asthma medication second
If you have asthma and a food/insect allergy and suddenly develop severe breathing difficulty, first use the medication prescribed for anaphylaxis followed by your asthma reliever medication. Continue to follow both your ASCIA Action Plan and Asthma Action Plan.
- If in doubt, use the medication prescribed for anaphylaxis and call an ambulance
The consequences of using medication prescribed for anaphylaxis unnecessarily are minor compared with the consequences of not giving the medication when it is needed.
This article has been produced in collaboration with Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia and Alphapharm Pty Ltd (trading as Mylan Australia) in the interest of anaphylaxis education