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How to position a person having anaphylaxis

How to position a child or adult having a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) - A short animated film developed by the National Allergy Strategy. 

Positioning Infographics

ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis include the following infographics that show the correct and incorrect positioning of a person having a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

Infographic anaphylaxis posture lay sit stand

LAY PERSON FLAT - do NOT allow them to stand or walk

  • If unconscious or pregnant, place in recovery position - on left side if pregnant         
  • If breathing is difficult allow them to sit with legs outstretched
  • Hold young children flat, not upright If unconscious, place in recovery position
  • The person should NOT stand, walk, or be held upright, even if they appear to have recovered.

When a person has anaphylaxis their blood pressure can drop rapidly, which reduces blood flow to the heart. Laying the person flat will help blood flow to the heart which improves blood pressure, whilst standing can make anaphylaxis worse by causing blood pressure to drop. 

Content updated May 2023