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An allergy is when the body has a reaction to a trigger. Allergic reactions usually happen within a few minutes of contact but can be delayed by a few hours.
Most allergic reactions are mild, but more severe reactions can occur. Sometimes mild reactions can develop quickly into a more severe reaction.
The most severe reaction is called anaphylaxis (ana-fill-axis) and can be life threatening. The signs of this are in the red box below. Children with severe allergic reactions need emergency hospital treatment. Ring 999 immediately for help if your child is having a severe reaction.
If your child has a mild allergic reaction immediately contact your GP or call NHS 111.
Common triggers for allergy are:
This advice is the same for children with anaphylaxis.
Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999
Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 .
If possible give your child antihistamine.
We recognise that access to a health care professional may take time. If symptoms persist for 4 hours or more and you have not been able to speak to your GP or to NHS 111, then consider taking them to your nearest A&E
Contact your local community pharmacist
Continue providing your child’s care at home
If you are concerned about your child, call NHS 111
Now showing: Video 1 of 4
Video description: What is a food allergy?
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This guidance has been reviewed and adapted by healthcare professionals across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw with consent from the Hampshire development groups.
If you are worried that your child is having a severe allergic reaction, you need to call 999 for an ambulance immediately and state anaphylaxis (ana-fill-axis).
If you have had to use your child’s autoinjector (Epi-pen) then they should always go to hospital for further observation.
If your child is having a mild to moderate allergic reaction, give them an antihistamine medicine to help with the symptoms.
If your child has had an allergic reaction you should avoid the trigger whenever possible.
Contact your GP if your child has had an allergic reaction.
Allergy UK has information on anaphylaxis
Beat Anaphylaxis has information for children, young people, families and professionals
Itchy Sneezy Wheezy has a series of videos on food allergy, anaphylaxis and how to use an epipen