Using an adrenaline auto-injector

The treatment of anaphylaxis is adrenaline (epinephrine), given by an injection into the outer thigh muscle in the leg.

Adrenaline treats both the symptoms of the reaction, and can also stop it from becoming worse. Other “allergy” medicines (such as antihistamines) may help with mild symptoms, but are not effective for severe reactions (anaphylaxis).

Adrenaline can be safely injected into the outer thigh muscle by non-healthcare workers using an adrenaline auto-injector (AAI). Using an AAI can buy valuable time while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

AAIs can be administered through clothes and should be injected into the outer mid-thigh, in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.

A dose of adrenaline administered with an AAI into the outer mid-thigh muscle is safe and potentially life-saving.

A number of different brands of AAI are available in the UK. The devices may appear similar, but there are some important differences in how they are used. All the manufacturers  supply a trainer device (which can be ordered via the manufacturer websites) – these are useful to practice how to use the AAI, and teach others.

Click on the appropriate device to link to the appropriate website for training videos.

The British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) has produced a range of Allergy Management Plans – one for each AAI brand – which can be downloaded here. These plans should be completed by a healthcare professional in conjunction with the parent/guardian, and a copy of the plan kept with the AAI.

The BSACI plans can be used as the pupil’s individualised healthcare plan to meet the school’s duty under Supporting Pupils, where the pupil has no other healthcare needs.

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