Anaphylaxis is a sudden and severe allergic reaction that requires immediate medical emergency measures. It can be fatal. Reactions usually occur within minutes of exposure to an offending substance but sometimes within a few hours. Specific symptoms will vary between individuals and even between attacks in the same person.
Vancouver school health manual - Section 15: Allergies and anaphylaxis
Commons signs that someone is having an anaphylactic reaction include:
Skin – hives, swelling, itching, warmth, redness or rash.
Respiratory (breathing) – wheezing, shortness of breath, throat tightness, cough, hoarse voice, chest pain/tightness, nasal congestion, trouble swallowing or hay fever-like symptoms such as runny, itchy nose and watery eyes or sneezing.
Gastrointestinal (stomach) – nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting or diarrhea.
Cardiovascular (heart) – pale/blue colour, weak pulse, passing out, feeling dizzy or lightheaded or shock.
Other – anxiety, feeling of “impending doom”, headache or uterine cramps in females.
Schools, parents and the school public health nurse all have a role to play in keeping children with severe allergies safe.
Identify children with severe life threatening allergies and develop an emergency action plan for that child.
Promote “allergy aware” classrooms, activities and playgrounds.
Ensure that all teachers and staff with supervisory responsibilities are aware of:
Consult with schools and provide training for anaphylaxis management, treatment and auto-injector use.
Provide schools with resources for anaphylaxis education.
Notify the school every year about their child’s severe allergy and any changes in his or her condition.
Work with the school tocomplete an emergency action plan for their child.
Provide the child or school with at least one epinephrine auto-injector. It is recommended that parents provide two auto-injectors in case their child requires a second dose and to take on field trips.*
Food Allergy Canada
Allergies at Schools
Avoidance strategies: The 3 A’s of preventing anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis emergency action plan