Q: Can you provide an anaphylaxis action plan similar to the asthma action plans that are in use in schools and in homes?
–Dr. P (pediatrician)
Dear Dr. P,
You can find a link to an food allergy action plan, which includes anaphylaxis, by clicking on “Action Plans” at the top of this page. This one comes to us courtesy of the pioneering organization, Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network [FAAN].
Familiarity with this plan will take the guesswork out of anaphylaxis and the emergency it represents. The plan depicted at food allergy.org talks about signs of mild reaction as well as moderate and more severe ones.
It promotes the use of the epinephrine when the time is at hand. Caution dictates that if breathing becomes a problem, whether in the form of a cough or constriction, epinephrine should be used. If you as a pediatrician are in touch with the parent during an episode, you should make treatment decisions based on your knowledge of the patient and the parent according to criteria such as: are they new to the problem?; are they familiar with the different medications and what they do?; do they understand what happens to the body during anaphylaxis? (For a full discussion of anaphylaxis read chapter 5 and elsewhere in Asthma Allergies Children: a parent’s guide.)