An allergy develops when the immune system recognises and
responds to something in the environment that is normally harmless:
e.g. food proteins, pollens or dust mite. An allergic
reaction occurs when a child is exposed to that substance and the
body's immune system reacts to that substance. Symptoms may
be localised or generalised, and range from mild to severe.
The most common causes of allergic reactions in young children
are food. In particular:
Other causes are bee or other insect stings, medication and
This term is used to describe a severe allergic reaction that
involves the respiratory and/or cardiovascular systems.
Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of an allergic reaction and is
A reaction can develop within minutes of exposure to the
allergen, but with planning and training, a reaction can be treated
effectively by using an adrenaline injection (EpiPen®/Anapen® EpiPen Jr®/Anapen Jnr®). An
important aspect of anaphylaxis management is prevention and
avoidance of the cause.
The most common causes of anaphylaxis in children are
peanut, tree nuts, egg and cow's milk. Other causes include
antibiotics, bee and insect stings.
A mild to moderate reaction will include one or more of these
symptoms, and it is possible that a number of them will occur
Anaphylaxis is the term used to describe a severe systemic
allergic reaction that involves the respiratory and/or
cardiovascular system. Presentation of anyone of the symptoms below, in addition to one or
more of symptoms of a mild-moderate allergic reaction, indicates
The first line treatment for anaphylaxis is adrenaline, and all
children who have experienced an anaphylactic reaction should be
prescribed an EpiPen®/Anapen® EpiPen
Jr®/Anapen Jr®. EpiPen Jr®/Anapen Jr® is for
children weighing less than 20 kgs or an EpiPen®/Anapen® is for children weighing 20 kgs or
more. Both the EpiPen and Anapen are a single dose of adrenaline, and need to
be prescribed by a doctor.
Each child who has been prescribed an
EpiPen®/EpiPen® Jr, Anapen®/Anapen Jr® require
an Anaphylaxis Action Plan, completed by a doctor. A copy of
the Anaphylaxis Action Plan should be provided to schools
and children's services by the parents, together with an
EpiPen®/EpiPen® Jr, Anapen®/Anapen
Employers should support staff training so that all staff can
allergic reaction and be able to administer an EpiPen®/EpiPen® Jr, Anapen®/Anapen Jr®.
appropriatelyIf a reaction is suspected, the Anaphylaxis Action Plan must
be followedIf an EpiPen®/EpiPen® Jr, Anapen®/Anapen
Jr® is given, an ambulance must be requested by phoning
Banning of products that contain the allergen is
Banning will not succeed in creating an "allergy free
zone". It is difficult to achieve a 100% ban, for a variety
of reasons. For example, product labels can be confusing,
parents of non-allergic children may not comply with the ban, and
lastly, staff and students become complacent.
The child at risk of food allergies should not share food.
These children must only have food provided from home or given with
the parent's permission.
Any staff, including relief staff, who are responsible for
cooking or delivering food to children should know about the
child's allergies. They should be aware of alternative words
used to describe the particular allergy food. For example,
cow's milk may be called casein, and egg may be called
ovalbumin. They should also be aware of potential
contamination of other foods when preparing, handling or displaying
Food containers or packages that contain the allergy food should
not be used. Parents of children with anaphylaxis can help by
checking art/craft products for hidden ingredients, as they are
often more aware of terms used.
Separate tables should be used for art/craft and food.
Where this is not possible, tables must be cleaned thoroughly
The EpiPen®/EpiPen® Jr must be taken on all
excursions and a staff member trained to use the EpiPen®/EpiPen® Jr must always be present. The
EpiPen®/EpiPen® Jr must be readily
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