Treatment for Anaphylaxis

Treatment / What you should do if your child has anaphylactic reaction

If you suspect that your child is having an anaphylactic reaction, you should call 911 immediately to get medical attention, since this condition can worsen rapidly and become life-threatening. Children who have previously had an anaphylactic or serious allergic reaction should carry a dose of epinephrine that can be injected by the child or by his or her parents at the first signs of anaphylaxis. Epinephrine is a hormone that helps to open the airways and improve breathing, improves blood pressure, and decreases the allergic reaction in the body.

Whenever epinephrine is used, the child should be taken to an Emergency Department immediately.

While you are waiting for the doctor or ambulance, you should get other people to help in case resuscitation should become necessary. Loosen any tight clothing and try to calm your child, who will often be very scared and not understand what is happening. Let your child sit up straight, or nearly straight, to help his or her breathing.

If your child vomits, then lay him on his side.

If your child seems listless or is showing signs of circulation failure, such as pale, clammy, and cool skin, you should lie your child down and raise his legs. If your child loses consciousness, you should watch the child carefully in case he stops breathing or loses circulation.

If the child is not breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If you are unable to detect signs of circulation, you must also administer chest compressions. Parents of children who have had an anaphylactic reaction should take a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course so that they feel more prepared in these rare situations.

Prevention of anaphylactic reaction

It is difficult to prevent an anaphylactic reaction in a child that has no known allergies or has not previously suffered an anaphylactic reaction. Always be aware of the possibility of allergic reaction or anaphylaxis if your child has taken a new medication or eaten a new food.

If your child has previously had an anaphylactic or serious allergic reaction, or has a known allergy to certain foods or bee/wasp stings, ask your doctor whether the child should carry a dose of epinephrine that can be injected in case of an allergic reaction.

You should also check whether your child should be wearing an alert bracelet that lets people know what he has anaphylaxis to.

Children with a known bee or wasp allergy should be kept away from areas with these insects as much as possible.

Treatment with allergen immunotherapy, or allergy shots, also may be helpful for some children. These are a series of shots that contain small amounts of bee or wasp venom. The shots are given over a period of time, usually 2 to 5 years. This will result in the child making antibodies to reduce the risk of severe reactions to future insect stings.

Always tell the doctor or hospital if your child has previously suffered an allergic reaction to medications or anaesthetics. If your child has a food allergy, it is important that you tell friends, relatives and your child’s school about this so that your child is not served this food.