Acute Allergic reaction – Anaphylactic Shock and how to use the treatments available

Acute Allergic reactions are life threatening and it is crucially important that you recognise the problem and know what to do quickly in order to save someone’s life.

allergic reaction

How to use your Epipen (Adrenaline Autoinjector)

Types of Autoinjectors:

There are currently 3 makes of Adrenaline Autoinjectors on the market. The Epipen is by far the most popular and the video above shows clearly how it should be used.

There is also the Anapen, where it is necessary to activate the device by pressing the red button (videos as to how to use this device are widely available on-line.) This device is not widely used in the UK.

A new device has just been launched – the Jext. This is very similar in design to the Epipen and may well become a more popular option as it has a much longer expiry date.

How to Treat Anaphylaxis

Adrenaline ( US name: Epinephrine) is the first choice for an acute anaphylactic reaction and it works best if it is given as soon as you recognise that someone is having a reaction. You should administer your injector and call for an ambulance stating clearly that you are having an anaphylactic reaction.

Adrenaline rapidly treats all of the most dangerous symptoms of anaphylaxis, including throat swelling, difficulty breathing, and low blood pressure.

there are some things you can do to prevent an attack:

  • Know what triggers the allergy and avoid these at all times.
  • Know how to recognise the symptoms of anaphylaxis.
  • Always have your treatment(s) available and ensure they are in date.
  • Understand how and when to correctly take your medicines.
  • Practise with a trainer device and come on appropriate training.
  • Teach your friends, family and colleagues how to recognise the symptoms of anaphylaxis and how to administer your treatment(s).

If you would like us to cover anaphylactic shock and how to use an Epipen, we are happy to incorporate it into any of our courses.

We are also able to run specific practical courses on Acute Allergic reactions and how to use an Epipen, for Schools, Nurseries and Health Professionals.

Written by Emma Hammett from First Aid for life

It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit  and for more information about our practical and online courses and to access free resources.

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

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