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Emergency treatment of allergic reactions

Patient information A-Z

The following will be completed by the doctor treating your child:

…………………………. is allergic to ……………………………. It is important that he/she avoids …………………………. completely. Particular care should be taken as traces may be hidden in food.

Mild reactions

The symptoms are: 

  • Itching of the skin
  • Rash
  • Swelling of the lips or nausea.


  1. Give antihistamine, for example chlorphenamine (Piriton) syrup ……….ml (……… immediately.
  2. Take the child to a doctor if necessary.

Moderate reactions

  • If there is difficulty in breathing or tightness in the throat give chlorphenamine (Piriton) as above and take the child to a doctor or A&E department quickly.

Severe reactions

The symptoms are:

  • Marked difficulty in breathing or choking (a feeling of closing up of the throat) and/or
  • Floppiness, collapse or loss of consciousness.


  1. Immediately send someone to call an ambulance. They should say this is an emergency, a case of anaphylactic (pronounced ana-fi-lac-tic) shock with collapse.
  2. Give an injection of adrenaline from the preloaded EpiPen (or EpiPen junior if the child weighs <30kg) into the front or side of the thigh. If the child is faint, he/she should be kept lying down on his/her side.

Instructions for administration of EpiPen:

  1. Remove the grey safety cap.
  2. Hold the EpiPen firmly in the palm of your hand.
  3. Press the black end of the EpiPen firmly against the child’s upper outer thigh until a click is heard (the needle will pass through thin clothes).
  4. Hold in place for a count of ten.
  5. Remove the EpiPen and dispose of safely.

Useful contacts:

EpiPen ‘dummy’ trainers are available from the manufacturer:

(ALK-Abello 01488 686 016)

The anaphylaxis campaign (patient support group)

01252 542 029

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151