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First aid for a
severe allergic reaction

Watch the video, in which Sarah gets help when she has a severe allergic reaction.

Use the information below to remind yourself how to help someone who is having a severe allergic reaction.

1

The person may develop a rash, itchiness or swelling on their hands, feet or face. Their breathing may slow down.

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Vomiting and diarrhoea can also occur. Common causes of allergic reactions are pollen, stings, latex and some food items - such as nuts or dairy products.

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2

Call 999 when you observe these symptoms.

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An allergic reaction can affect someone very quickly, and is potentially very serious.  If someone has a known allergy and has an auto-injector, you can help them to use it, or do it yourself following the guidance on the product.

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3

Give constant reassurance until help arrives.

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Send us your stories

We love to hear from people who have stepped forward to help in a first aid emergency. If you have a first aid story that you'd be happy to share, please email firstaid@redcross.org.uk including your name, telephone number and some brief details about what happened. The British Red Cross will only use your information to contact you about your first aid story.

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