Management of allergic reactions (including anaphylaxis) in school and in the community
Allergic reactions to foods, and insect bites/stings are recognised with increasing frequency, and are a major cause of concern to parents and teachers alike. Most reactions are mild, and will require no treatment, or treatment with oral antihistamines only. Occasionally a more severe reaction may follow a mild initial reaction after a delay of some hours.
The term “anaphylaxis” is used to describe a severe allergic attack which causes a problem with breathing or the airway, impaired circulation, or impaired consciousness. Skin and/or mucosal changes (flushing, urticaria, angioedema) often also occur but are absent in a significant proportion of cases. Where the potential for anaphylaxis has been identified, it is important that carers are aware, and that appropriate treatment is on hand.
Children at risk of allergic reactions should have access to oral antihistamine at home and in school. An epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector – is required for severe reactions such as anaphylaxis.
The purpose of this document is to describe the responsibilities of the various health professionals and organisations in the management of allergic reactions in schools and in the community.