Anaphylaxis is a severe and sometimes sudden allergic reaction. It can occur when a susceptible person is exposed to an allergen (such as a food or an insect sting).
Reactions usually begin within minutes of exposure and can progress rapidly over a period of up to two hours or more. Anaphylaxis is potentially life threatening and always requires an emergency response. Using an autoinjector to administer adrenaline and calling an ambulance is the emergency response for anaphylaxis.
Schools use the Anaphylaxis Procedures for Schools and information on the department's student health web pages when planning to meet the health care needs of students diagnosed at risk of anaphylaxis.
Learning about anaphylaxis and appropriate emergency response is important in every school irrespective of whether or not the school has a student diagnosed with anaphylaxis. Schools may have students who are at risk but have not been diagnosed with anaphylaxis.
You should be aware of any students in your class at risk of anaphylaxis. It is important that students at risk get to experience all of the positive things about school and are not excluded from activities or events. Some students may be self-conscious about their condition and may not like to be singled out or have a fuss made about them in front of their peers. This is easily accommodated within our school settings by thinking about student’s learning and support needs during the planning process and making adjustments to class and school activities. However at no time should any of these adjustments compromise the student’s health, safety or wellbeing.
Teaching and learning resources for K-10 students
The Anaphylaxis PDF portfolio is a resource which contains a number of sample activities designed to increase student's knowledge and understanding of anaphylaxis as a medical condition that affects people.
The First Aid Sites2See is a useful collection of resource to support teachers and students when exploring emergency response situations and when learning about the risks related to anaphylaxis.
When teaching about anaphylaxis, consider student sensitivities around this issue. It may be useful to talk to students with allergies before presenting the teaching and learning activities to gauge their reaction. It is not appropriate to refer to individual students who have allergies without first gaining their permission. Some students may wish to contribute personal stories to support the teaching and learning in the classroom, other students may not wish their condition to be disclosed to the class.
It is important to notify and discuss the implementation of these curriculum materials with the parents of students diagnosed as being at risk of anaphylaxis. Teachers need to be aware not only of diagnosed students in the class but also the potential for students to have family members and close friends at risk of anaphylaxis.
Teachers also need to be sensitive towards the provision of information about allergies, especially if it involves the identification of students who suffer from allergies, in such a way to ensure there is not increased risk of bullying or discrimination.