Background: Anaphylaxis is not uncommon in Australia, representing the most severe form of allergy. It is most likely to be triggered by food with the most common allergen being peanuts. It constitutes a medical emergency that requires a rapid medical response.
Objective: This article aims to provide an overview of anaphylaxis--its prevalence, causes, diagnosis and treatment both acutely and in relation to long term management. It also aims to highlight the importance of having a protocol established for the management of this condition in the emergency situation.
Discussion: With the increased prevalence of allergy in the community, it is likely that at some stage most general practitioners will have to treat a case of acute anaphylaxis. It is imperative that GPs are prepared for such an event as failure to recognise the condition or to follow a validated protocol can have fatal consequences.