Topic Progress:

Adult Anaphylaxis


Adult Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger such as an allergy, It’s also known as anaphylactic shock.


Symptoms of anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis usually develops suddenly and gets worse very quickly.  The symptoms include:


  • feeling lightheaded or faint
  • breathing difficulties– such as fast, shallow breathing
  • wheezing
  • a fast heartbeat
  • clammy skin
  • confusion and anxiety
  • collapsing or losing consciousness

There may also be other allergy symptoms, including an itchy, raised rash, (hives), feeling or being sick, swelling or stomach pain.

What to do if someone has anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. It can be very serious if not treated quickly.

If someone has symptoms of anaphylaxis, you should:

  1. use an adrenaline (EpiPen) auto-injector if the person has one– but make sure you know how to use it correctly first (You should have one in clinic ) They’re prescription only
  2. Call 999 for an ambulance immediately (even if they start to feel better)– mention that you think the person has anaphylaxis
  3. Remove any trigger if possible– Remove any anaesthetic ( numbing cream ) or product
  4. Lie the person down flat– unless they’re unconscious, pregnant or having breathing difficulties
  5. Give another injection after 5-15 minutesif the symptoms don’t improve and a second auto-injector is available

If they’re having an anaphylactic reaction, you can follow these steps yourself if you feel able to do on the client.

How to use an Epi Pen:



  • Grasp with orange tip pointing downward
  • Remove blue safety cap by pulling straight up – do not bend or twist

  • Place the orange tip against the middle of the outer thigh
  • Swing and push the auto-injector firmly into the thigh until it “clicks”
  • Hold firmly in place for 3 seconds – count slowly, “1, 2, 3”

Built-in needle protection

After injection, the orange cover automatically extends to ensure the needle is never exposed.

Call 999 after using  EpiPen

Using EpiPen® does not replace seeing a doctor or going to the hospital.

The effects can wear off or they could have a second reaction, so call 999.

If the client does not feel better or gets worse you can inject another dose of EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® 5 to 15 minutes after the first injection.

Do not inject more than 2 injections right after each other.

Too much epinephrine can cause dangerously high blood pressure, stroke, or death. Signs of an overdose include:

  • Irregular heart beat
  • Difficulty breathing caused by a build-up of fluid in your lungs

Triggers of anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is the result of the immune system – the body’s natural defense system – overreacting to a trigger.

This is often something you’re allergic to, but isn’t always.

How common are allergic reactions to hyaluronic acid fillers? Allergic reactions are uncommon. Hyaluronic acid fillers are made from substances similar to those found in your body. But if you are allergic to lidocaine used to numb the pain during injections, tell your practitioner before your treatment

Common anaphylaxis triggers include:

  • Foods– including nuts, milk, fish, shellfish, eggs and some fruits
  • Medicines– including some antibiotics and non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin
  • Insect stings – particularly wasp and bee stings
  • General anaesthetic
  • Contrast agents– special dyes used in some medical tests to help certain areas of your body show up better on scans
  • Latex– a type of rubber found in some rubber gloves and condoms

In some cases, there’s no obvious trigger. This is known as idiopathic anaphylaxis.