The incidence of allergy has increased dramatically in the UK in recent years and is still rising. Recent studies put the rise as approximately three-fold in the last 20 years, giving the UK one of the highest rates of allergic disease in the world. The latest estimates suggest that one-third of the total UK population – approximately 18 million people – will develop allergy at some time in their lives. This is supported by research that showed in the 20 years to 2012 there was a 615% increase in the rate of hospital admissions for anaphylaxis in the UK.

Have you ever seen anyone during a severe allergic reaction? Anaphylaxis is a severe and often sudden allergic reaction. It can occur when someone with allergies is exposed to something they are allergic to (known as an allergen). Anaphylaxis is potentially life-threatening and so must always require an immediate emergency response. Adrenaline is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis and is prescribed for self-use as an adrenaline auto-injector.

Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis can include:
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  • Skin rashes, itching and hives
  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing or wheezing (whistling sound during breathing)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Feeling like something awful is about to happen (referred to as impending doom)

allergic reaction swollen lips allergic reaction teenager allergic reaction swollen face


Although there are some rare allergies, there are many more people allergic to certain foods and environmental allergens like nuts, latex and insect stings. For those with severe allergies, the fear of a reaction can create real restrictions in their ability to be active and join in. 

There are two main challenges. 
  1. Making everyone aware of how to spot the signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, what to do in an emergency and how to use your adrenaline auto-injectors.
  2. Knowing the cause of the reaction (the allergen) is essential to fast effective treatment. 
We have teamed up with Anaphylaxis Campaign to bring two charities together to improve the lives of those suffering from severe allergies.

The Anaphylaxis Campaign is the only UK wide charity operating solely for the growing numbers of people at risk of a severe allergic reaction and anaphylaxis. They have been providing information and support to patients and their families for over 25 years. MedicAlert is the original, most trusted and recognised medical ID service provider in the UK. Anaphylaxis Campaign recommends MedicAlert due to the support we provide to individuals with allergies, medical conditions and other medical requirements. Our medical ID jewellery is backed up by a 24/7 emergency line to provide immediate awareness of allergies to ensure speedy and correct care management is provided in an emergency.


55 years in the UK this year;
In 1953, Linda Collins, aged 14, went into anaphylactic shock in reaction to tetanus toxoid while being treated in hospital. Young Linda spent many years following this with a paper note pinned to her coat, detailing her allergies. When she went to university, her father Dr Marion Collins designed a metal disc, using the Rod of Asclepius - the Greek symbol for healing - followed by the words 'MedicAlert' in red and a list of her allergies was engraved on the back. Interest grew and MedicAlert as a charity was formed, with the UK non-profit organisation established in 1964. Today’s members benefit from a 24/7 emergency line, online access to their records to add/amend as often as they require, and in-house medical professionals who review all new and amended records to ensure they are medically sound for use in emergency situations.

Dr Collins noted "I think I can save more lives with MedicAlert than with my scalpel."

25 years old this year;
In 1993, Anaphylaxis Campaign co-founder David Reading tragically lost his daughter Sarah at the young age of 17. She had not been previously diagnosed with a food allergy but was being treated for Asthma. Minutes after eating a dessert containing crushed peanuts, Sarah became unwell, began wheezing and said her mouth felt funny - she collapsed and died within minutes. Wanting something positive to come out of this traumatic experience, the Anaphylaxis Campaign was formed in 1994 to bridge a gap in the lack of awareness about how serious food allergies can be.


Our two charities have joined forces to support each other and make a bigger impact on people’s lives. Educational materials are available for first responders, medical professionals and the general public, so everyone can be aware of what needs to be done in case of an emergency. 

For those with severe allergies, wearing a MedicAlert ID bracelet or necklace can make them feel more confident and able to live active and independent lives, knowing that in an emergency their medical ID jewellery would create awareness of their allergy, so they could be treated quickly and appropriately.

To join MedicAlert and choose the medical ID that suits you, click on the button below:



Adrenaline is the first line treatment for anaphylaxis, but it will only be effective if it is available at all times, is used correctly and is used promptly. If you have been prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector, you should have it with you everywhere you go.

If you witness someone experiencing an anaphylactic reaction, then there are some clear and simple actions you need to follow:

what to do if someone is in anaphylactic shock

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Google  

Your browser session was modified and your impersonation status has changed.

Please click below to continue.


Your login session has expired on this device.

Please click below to continue.

Sign in