Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Action Plan

An allergy and anaphylaxis action plan is an important tool for those with allergies, especially severe ones. It is a document that explains what someone needs to do to help you if you have an allergy emergency.1-5

Allergic reactions may be mild to moderate, but sometimes a more serious reaction occurs, like anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that occurs within minutes of exposure and can quickly worsen. Symptoms often involve multiple systems of the body and can include:1-5

  • Trouble breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Swollen lips
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness

An allergy action plan is carried with you at all times. You should also share copies with your:

  • School
  • Workplace
  • Gym
  • Daycare
  • Camp
  • Coaches
  • Babysitters
  • Doctors
  • Any other places you go often

An allergy and anaphylaxis action plan is an official medical document filled out by your doctor.

What should the plan have in it?

Your action plan should be easy to read. It should not be a long document, since it needs to be easily understood by people with no medical training.

Anaphylaxis action plans can look different for different people, but there are some common parts every plan should have. This includes:1-5

  • Your name, age, and weight
  • What you are allergic to
  • Whether you also have asthma (which means you have a higher risk of a anaphylaxis)
  • How to recognize and treat mild symptoms
  • Directions for when to give epinephrine
  • Signs of anaphylaxis
  • Other health problems
  • Current medicines and supplements
  • Emergency contacts
  • Your doctor’s contacts
  • Directions to call 9-1-1

Some forms include space for a photograph. There is also generally space for other comments or instructions to be written by you or your doctor. The plan is signed by either the person or their guardian, and the allergist or family doctor.1-5

This plan should be updated regularly as you age and your body changes. Your allergies may change, you may lose or gain weight, and the drugs and supplements you take may change over time. Keeping your information current helps first responders correctly treat you.

Why do I need one?

Some allergic reactions are predictable. That is why it is important to know your triggers. While the best way to manage allergies is to avoid your triggers, that is not always possible. Having a clear, written plan that explains how to recognize and treat any reaction can improve outcomes for someone who lives with life-threatening allergies.

It can also reduce anxiety about potential emergencies both for the person with the allergy and their friends and loved ones.2,3

Things to consider

If this action plan is for your child, talk with your doctor about how many copies should be made. This can ensure that all of your child’s caregivers have the same information – at school, daycare, babysitters, camp, and home. It is important to note that some schools and daycare centers have their own form they want you and your child's doctor to fill out.

If the plan is for you, have a copy with you at all times, and give a copy to your employer or HR office. Make sure all of your doctors also have a copy with your records.

There are several emergency plan templates you can download:

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Written by: Jessica Johns Pool | Last Reviewed: March 2022