4 myths about anaphylaxis

What you need to know about signs, symptoms and treatments for severe allergic reactions.

Myth 1: Small amounts of nut are harmless

Ever wonder why packaged foods with no nuts in the ingredients sometimes contain a warning that they may contain nuts or that they are produced in a facility that also processes nuts? For some people, tiny amounts of nut (or allergen) can cause a severe allergic reaction, also known as anaphylaxis.1

Myth 2: Antihistamines should be used before EpiPen®

The fact is that antihistamines should never be used as an alternative to EpiPen®.2

Myth 3: If there’s no skin reaction, it’s not anaphylaxis

The fact is that people may have no visible skin reaction (rash, hives or itching) while experiencing anaphylaxis.3
For people who have been prescribed EpiPen®, it is important to use it at the first sign of a severe allergic reaction.4
Signs and symptoms vary, but may include one or more of the following:

  • Persistent dizziness or collapse.
  • Difficult or noisy breathing.
  • Wheezing or persistent cough.
  • Swelling, especially of the face, lips, tongue or throat.
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
  • Young child becoming pale and floppy.
  •  Skin rash, hives or itching.2

Myth 4: Adrenaline is dangerous

EpiPen® or EpiPen® Jr. Auto-Injectors contain a specific dose of adrenaline® and are designed for use by people who have had no first-aid training.5

The fact is that it is safer to use EpiPen® when you don’t actually need it than not to use it when you do need it. Not administering EpiPen® in a potentially life-threatening situation is more dangerous than using EpiPen® when a patient is experiencing only a moderate allergic reaction.5

There are instructions on the EpiPen® Auto-Injector to guide you. Remember:

Blue to the sky.  Orange to the Thigh.

Also translated in 25 other languages.
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Prepared June 2021. EPI-2021-0201.

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MyEpiPen® is an online resource dedicated to helping you and your family be better prepared to manage anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction). If you're not yet a member of MyEpiPen®, make sure you join today to receive:

  • An EpiPen®  Trainer – a training device to help you practise using EpiPen® Auto-Injector
  • How to use EpiPen® Auto-Injector fridge magnet - to serve as a useful reminder
  • Expiry reminders - to help ensure you always have an in-date EpiPen® Auto-Injector at hand
  • Regular updates on the latest anaphylaxis news

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Welcome to MyEpiPen®

Patients and Carers

Our new website is designed to support Australians who have been diagnosed with
severe allergies and are at risk of anaphylaxis.


Schools and Pharmacists

We’re busy working on your new programs, and look forward to welcoming you to the
new site soon. In the meantime, please click below to access the EpiClub® site as usual.

July 2021. EPI-2021-0194.