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When to use your EpiPen®

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency which must be treated quickly.

If someone has symptoms of anaphylaxis you should:

  • Use an adrenaline auto-injector (AAI) if available, e.g. EpiPen.
  • Call 112 immediately
  • Remove the trigger or causative agent if possible
  • Make sure the person lies down or stays still
  • If your symptoms have not improved or have deteriorated within 5-15 minutes after the first injection, either you or the person with you should give a second EpiPen injection. For this reason, you should carry more than one EpiPen with you at all times.

Recognise the symptoms

Symptoms of an allergic reaction usually develop within a few minutes of being exposed to the allergen. Symptoms will vary from person to person so it is important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor and be clear on what to look out for. Anaphylaxis usually develops suddenly and gets worse very quickly.

Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) symptoms include:

  • Breathing difficulties, such as fast, shallow and noisy breathing
  • Swelling in tongue
  • Swelling/tightness in throat
  • Swelling of face/lips/eyelids
  • Difficulty in talking and/or hoarse voice
  • Wheeze or persisting cough
  • Loss of consciousness and/or collapse
  • Pale and floppy (young children)
  • Feeling lightheaded or faint
  • Clammy skin
  • Confusion and anxiety

Mild to moderate allergic reaction symptoms include:

  • Red, raised, itchy rash
  • Abdominal pain, nausea and/or vomiting
  • Itchy, red, watering eyes
  • Tingling mouth