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Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis

The Anaphylaxis Procedures for NSW Catholic Schools 2013 has been developed to assist school staff to support students at risk of an anaphylactic reaction.

Where a Student is known to be at risk of an anaphylactic reaction, an individual health care plan (IHCP) is developed. Parents need to provide information from the child's doctor, including an ASCIA Action Plan for Anaplylaxis, available from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Inc (ASCIA) website. This information will be used in the development of the IHCP.

For reference, public schools in NSW follow the Department of Education and COmmunities' Anaphylaxis Procedures for Schools 2012. 

Emergency Care

Anaphylaxis always requires an emergency response. Using an auto-injector to administer adrenaline and calling an ambulance is the emergency response for anaphylaxis. Students diagnosed at risk of anaphylaxis must have an emergency response plan, ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis, completed and signed by the child's doctor as part of their Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP).

Note: there are different plans for anaphylaxis:
  1. ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis - Personal, for a specific student who has been prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector (two versions of the plan are available, one for each of the two different adrenaline auto-injectors, EpiPen and AnaPen). A third ASCIA Action Plan is available for mild to moderate allergies (ASCIA Action Plan for Allergic Reactions - Personal) for when no adrenaline auto-injector has been prescribed.
  2. ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis - General, that does not include information about a specific student that can be used as a poster or in first aid kits (two versions of the plan are available, one for each of the two different adrenaline auto-injectors, EpiPen and AnaPen).
The above ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis can be used for individuals with severe allergies to food and/or insect bites or stings. The plans include instructions on how to use an adrenaline auto-injector and a copy should therefore always be stored in close proximity to the adrenaline auto-injector.

It is the role of the parent to provide the school with an ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis, completed and signed by their child's prescribing doctor.

The plan should be posted in suitable locations for easy reference.


Adrenaline Auto-injectors (EpiPen and AnaPen)


Adrenaline auto-injectors contain a single dose of adrenaline and are designed as a first aid device for use by people without formal medical or nursing training. Three devices are approved for sale in Australia: the EpiPen and the AnaPen. A junior device is available in each model for small children (under 20kg).

The new-look EpiPen is a different colour from the original EpiPen. The new-look EpiPen has a blue safety release and orange needle end.

It is important for school staff to be aware that EpiPen devices look and operate differently to the AnaPen devices.

Both the NSW Health Anaphylaxis Education Training Program and the ASCIA e-training include instruction in administering the EpiPen and the AnaPen. If training is provided by an alternative provider, schools are advised to check that training using both types of adrenaline auto-injectors are used.

It is the role of the parent to provide the prescribed adrenaline auto-injector and to replace it when it expires or after it has been used. The Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP) for a student at risk of anaphylaxis should outline a process for replacing used and expired adrenaline auto-injectors in a timely way. 


Anaphylaxis Training

Catholic schools are advised to arrange specialist training for staff where students in the school have been diagnosed at being risk of anaphylaxis. Specialist training includes practical instruction in how to use an adrenaline auto-injector.

Principals are reminded that as many school staff as possible should be trained in anaphylaxis emergency care. It is recommended that specialist training be conducted every two years. However, schools can make decisions about the frequency and format of training on the basis of local considerations following a risk assessment. It is important that staff new to a school and casual staff receive suitable training in order to respond appropriately in emergency situations. 


NSW Health Anaphylaxis Training Program

The NSW Health Anaphylaxis Training Program can provide specialist training for school staff. This program has been developed by NSW Health and the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA). ASCIA is the peak professional association on allergies and anaphylaxis for Australia. Delivered by nurse educators accredited through the program, the training includes information about strategies that can be implemented in schools for avoiding a student's exposure to known allergens and includes practical instruction in the EpiPen and the AnaPen.

To request training via the NSW Health Anaphylaxis Training Program, Catholic schools are to complete the application for anaphylaxis training form.


E-training

Anaphylaxis training can be accessed online. ASCIA, in conjunction with NSW Health, has developed anaphylaxis e-training for school and childcare staff. The e-training does not replace specialist anaphylaxis training conducted where students are diagnosed at risk of anaphylaxis. Rather, anaphylaxis e-training can be used:
  • as interim training until specialist training is conducted
  • as a refresher course between specialist training sessions
  • for any staff, including new and casual staff who were unable to attend a scheduled specialist anaphylaxis training session.
The self-paced course is completed in modules and can be accessed here.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants are issued a certificate of completion. A record of this should be kept on the school's professional learning register of staff with completed anaphylaxis training in accordance with advice from the relevant school authority.

It is recommended that graduate teachers, practicum students and casual staff have, as a minimum, completed the online ASCIA e-learning training module. 


Minimising the Risk of Exposure to Allergens

Any individual health care plan (IHCP) developed for students diagnosed at risk of anaphylaxis needs to include strategies to minimise the risk of exposure to known allergens. For further advice on this, refer to Appendices 8 and 9 of Anaphylaxis Procedures for NSW Catholic Schools 2013.

Information on the prevention of food anaphylactic reactions can be accessed from Anaphylaxis Guidelines for Schools and Children's Services on the ASCIA website.

Refer also to Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis - Information for Schools, which answers some frequently asked questions about food allergies and anaphylaxis.