How to stay safe with allergy and anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis, the most severe form of allergic reaction, occurs when our immune system reacts to an allergen or allergy trigger. It must be treated as a medical emergency, as it can be life threatening. Our resources identify actions that people can take to stay safe after experiencing anaphylaxis.

Indicators for the Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard

 A set of indicators have been developed to support monitoring of the care recommended in the Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard. Clinicians and health service organisations can use the indicators to support local quality improvement activities.

Discharge management and documentation

Quality Statement 6

Before a patient leaves a healthcare facility after having anaphylaxis, they are advised about the suspected allergen, allergen avoidance strategies and post-discharge care. The discharge care plan is tailored to the allergen and includes details of the suspected allergen, the appropriate ASCIA Action Plan, and the need for prompt follow-up with a general practitioner and clinical immunology/allergy specialist review. Where there is a risk of re-exposure, the patient is prescribed a personal adrenaline injector and is trained in its use. Details of the allergen, the anaphylactic reaction and discharge care arrangements are documented in the patient’s healthcare record.

Observation time following anaphylaxis

Quality statement 5

A patient treated for anaphylaxis remains under clinical observation for at least four hours after their last dose of adrenaline, or overnight as appropriate according to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Acute Management of Anaphylaxis guidelines. Observation timeframes are determined based on assessment and risk appraisal after initial treatment.

Correct patient positioning

Quality Statement 3

A patient experiencing anaphylaxis is laid flat, or allowed to sit with legs extended if breathing is difficult. An infant is held or laid horizontally. The patient is not allowed to stand or walk during, or immediately, after the event until they are assessed as safe to do so, even if they appear to have recovered.

Immediate injection of intramuscular adrenaline

Quality statement 2

A patient with anaphylaxis, or suspected anaphylaxis, is administered adrenaline intramuscularly without delay, before any other treatment including asthma medicines. Corticosteroids and antihistamines are not first-line treatments for anaphylaxis.

Prompt recognition of anaphylaxis

Quality statement 1

A patient with acute-onset clinical deterioration with signs or symptoms of an allergic response is rapidly assessed for anaphylaxis, especially in the presence of an allergic trigger or a history of allergy.

Quality Statements

The Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard contains six quality statements describing the key components of care to improve the recognition of anaphylaxis, and the provision of appropriate treatment and follow-up care.

Clinical Care Standards

A clinical care standard is a small number of quality statements that describe the care patients should be offered by health professionals and health services for a specific clinical condition or defined clinical pathway in line with current best evidence.