Your allergy care – what to expect

Identify, treat and protect

Knowing what to expect from your GP or other healthcare professional following an allergic reaction, or suspicion of an allergy, will help to identify what is causing the allergy, treat the symptoms and protect you from future attacks. 

This website will take you through the appropriate steps that should be taken to ensure you receive the appropriate information, treatment and management advice from healthcare professionals.  This tool will focus on severe immediate onset allergic reactions.

The information provided is based on the recent National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline for diagnosis and assessment of food allergy in children and young people in primary care and community settings.  Most of the information is also relevant for adults.


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1. Top considerations before seeing your GP


Why these are important considerations to ask yourself

There’s no such thing as a mild allergic reaction, they should all be taken seriously.  One reaction one day does not mean it will be the same reaction next time. 

What is important is to identify the allergy trigger, treat the person as best as possible and protect the person from future reactions.

A severe allergy can lead to anaphylaxis, which in some cases can be fatal.

Anaphylaxis Information Matters and your aim should be to get as much help and information as possible, to empower you to lead a full and active life. You matter.    

2. Before your GP appointment

Try to identify what caused you to feel unwell or have a rash.

If you suspect a food is responsible for the reaction make a note of what you have eaten over the previous 24 hours, particularly if it is something you do not eat regularly or if it contains an ingredient you are unsure of.

The questionnaire below will provide you with a with a personalised PDF providing key information that you can you can take to your GP.  Please keep your answers short.

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3. At the appointment

Your doctor should ask you about any allergies or allergy-related conditions you have already identified, this is called taking an allergy-focused history.

Be proactive.  Ask questions.  Gain as much information as you can to help you understand the suspected cause and the proposed treatment plan. 

Do not be afraid to ask for a referral to a specialist if a severe immediate onset allergy is suspected.  Also if you or your child has had a severe immediate allergic reaction, ensure your doctor discusses with you the need to prescribe adrenaline auto-injectors.

You can access a list of all the current allergy clinics in the UK here.

Example questions for your GP


4. What actions might your GP take if they suspect an allergy?


If you or your child have experienced a severe immediate allergic reaction or any immediate food allergic reaction is suspected and you/your child also has asthma, your GP should:

1. Refer to an allergy specialist for further assessment and testing

2. Prescribe adrenaline in the form of auto-injectors and show you how to use it if a severe immediate reaction has been experienced 

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) both advise that two adrenaline injectors should be available at all times, so ensure your GP has prescribed sufficiently to comply with this.

You may also be prescribed additional medication such as oral antihistamines.

Discuss drawing up a written Allergy Action Plan to help keep you safe in the event of another reaction.  You can access the BSACI's Allergy Action Plans for children at risk of anaphylaxis on their website.

If you are being referred, ask how long you’ll have to wait to see a specialist.

You may also be referred if the GP is concerned about any of the following points too -



Find out more by reading our Anaphylaxis the Facts factsheet


5. The emotional impact

Experiencing a severe allergic reaction, especially a severe immediate one, can be frightening for the person going through it and those around them. Help is at hand.

It is important to have that essential appointment with your doctor and gain a referral to a specialist IF a potentially severe allergy is suspected.

It is only through a series of tests, which may include skin prick tests, blood tests or dietary elimination trials, that the allergy experts can determine if you have an allergy and what treatment is recommended.

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6. Share

Once the allergy trigger has been identified and a management plan agreed, it is vital that everyone in contact with the person who has the allergy knows about it, understands the risks and is aware of how to treat a severe reaction. 

We have lots of factsheets on the condition and allergens - you can access these on our website.

We also have a very informative Anaphylaxis Information Matters (AIM) leaflet for people recently diagnosed with a severe allergy.



Anaphylaxis Information Matters. You Matter.

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Many thanks to the following members of the Anaphylaxis Campaign's Clinical and Scientific Panel who clinically reviewed this tool:

Dr Liz Angier, Portfolio GP, Q Member Health Foundation, Clinical Fellow National Leadership Academy; Dr Trevor Brown, Consultant Paediatric Allergist, and Vice Chair of Anaphylaxis Campaign’s Clinical Panel; Dr Andrew Clark, Consultant in Paediatric Allergy and Chair of the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s Clinical Panel; Dr Joanne Walsh, GP, Chair of Primary care group BSACI.