What is an allergy?

Allergies are very common. They occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to something which is normally harmless, causing an inflammatory allergic response.

The most common causes of allergies are:

  • Eggs

  • Peanuts and other nuts

  • Milk

  • Soy and wheat

  • Fish and shellfish

  • Fruits

  • Insect bites

  • Medications

  • Latex


What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?

Mild to moderate allergic reactions usually consist of one or more of the following:

  • Hives (a red, lumpy rash)

  • Tingling around the mouth

  • Stomach pain, nausea and/or vomiting

  • Swelling of the face


What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. If you or someone you know is having an allergic reaction look for these danger signs of anaphylaxis (in addition to the previously mentioned allergy symptoms):

  • Difficult/noisy breathing

  • Swelling of tongue and/or throat

  • Difficulty talking/hoarse voice

  • Loss of consciousness or collapse


If you see any of these symptoms, immediately call 000 and lay the person flat with legs elevated. If they have an EpiPen, administer immediately and again after 5 minutes if no response.


My child has had an anaphylactic reaction, what should I know?

Anaphylaxis in a child can be terrifying for both the child and the parents, but once your child has recovered there are some things you should be aware of to ensure this won’t happen again.

  • You should be provided with two Epi-pens. It is important that you get the doctor to demonstrate how this is used, as you, your child (if old enough) and all caregivers (including teachers) should be aware of how to use it. Ensure the Epi-pen is kept within close vicinity of the child at all times (including on excursion etc)

  • You should be provided with a referral to see an allergy specialist so you can determine the exact cause of the reaction, in the meantime you should avoid any foods/other objects that may have caused the reaction.

  • Ensure food preparation is sterile and not in an environment that contains the allergen, also discourage food sharing.

  • You should be provided with an Anaphylaxis Action Plan, with information about signs to look for and what to do in the event of anaphylaxis. Copies of this should be kept at home and school, and any other places your child spends a large amount of time.

  • Consider getting a Medicalert bracelet with allergies written on it

  • If your child also has asthma, it is important that this is also well controlled as this can make anaphylactic reactions worse.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, feel free to book an appointment with one of our friendly doctors by booking online or contacting us by phone on 8269 6000.



Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA). 2018. Fact Sheet for Parents – Anaphylaxis [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.allergy.org.au/health-professionals/anaphylaxis-resources/fact-sheet-for-parents-anaphylaxis. [Accessed 12 April 2018]

Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, 2018. Clinical Practice Guidelines : Anaphylaxis [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.rch.org.au/clinicalguide/guideline_index/Anaphylaxis/. [Accessed 12 April 2018].

Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, 2018. Kids Health Info : Allergic and anaphylactic reactions . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Allergic_and_anaphylactic_reactions/. [Accessed 12 April 2018].


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