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Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening emergency and needs immediate adrenaline administration. Start CPR at any time if needed. Symptoms of anaphylaxis after vaccination include any one of:

  • difficult/noisy breathing
  • swelling of tongue
  • swelling/tightness in throat
  • difficulty talking/hoarse voice
  • wheeze or persistent cough
  • persistent dizziness or collapse
  • pale and floppy (young children)

1. Call for help, including an ambulance. Do not leave the person.

2. Lie the person on their back, or let them sit up if lying down restricts their breathing.

3. Give 1:1000 adrenaline by intramuscular injection into the anterolateral thigh. Dose according to the person’s weight.

4. Give oxygen by face mask at a high flow rate, if available.

5. If their condition has not improved after 5 minutes, give another dose of 1:1000 adrenaline. Keep giving adrenaline every 5 minutes until the ambulance arrives if their condition does not improve.

6. Transfer the person to hospital for further observation and treatment.

7. Record the incident, including doses of adrenaline given.

See the Australian Immunisation Handbook for more details.

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