A real shot in the arm for anaphylaxis

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Melissa Meehan
(Australian Associated Press)

 

The danger doesn’t end with a shot of adrenaline for thousands of Australians who suffer from anaphylaxis.

Almost 20 Aussies die from anaphylaxis annually.

Each year more than 11,500 Australians present to emergency departments with anaphylaxis and this number is rising.

It has increased by 51 per cent in the past five years – this means Australia has one of the highest documented rates of hospital anaphylaxis admissions in the developed world.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that requires medical treatment.

For many who experience it, there is a lengthy journey to manage their allergy after they’ve been discharged from hospital to avoid a future episode, since anaphylaxis is a potentially fatal condition.

That is why the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care released their new standard of care on Wednesday.

The new Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard describes the optimal standard of clinical care for patients experiencing anaphylaxis, recommending priority areas for clinicians managing treatment.

Associate Professor Amanda Walker, Clinical Director at the Commission, said the new standard emphasises the need for prompt treatment and continuity of patient care between acute and general practice healthcare settings.

“It addresses gaps in existing guidelines for patient care, such as ensuring timely treatment with adrenaline and strengthening the process for handover of care along the patient journey,” she said.

“Adrenaline is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis and should be administered promptly.

“But a person who has experienced anaphylaxis remains vulnerable in the community after discharge. There needs to be a safe discharge and clear handover of care to the patient’s GP and immunologist.”

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