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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Self-care for allergies

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify the substances that trigger your allergy and try to avoid them.

Here are some tips to avoid some common allergens and help minimise allergic symptoms.

Dust mites

You can never get rid of all the dust mites in your house, but these measures can help reduce their numbers.


Animal dander

Skin allergies

Insect bites and stings

Food allergies

Carry adrenaline

If you're at risk of life-threatening allergic reactions, you always need to carry adrenaline with you. You also need to learn how to use an adrenaline auto-injector (EpiPen) correctly. See Anaphylaxis for details.

For tamariki (children) with allergies, parents or caregivers should be familiar with how to use the EpiPen. Partners of adults should also be familiar with these devices.

Allergic reaction action plan

Allergic reactions can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to moderate reactions, through to severe and life-threatening reactions (anaphylaxis). You and your whānau (family) need to be able to recognise the signs of an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis and know what to do in an emergency.

An allergic reaction action plan is a written document that outlines what to do if you have an allergic reaction.

Here are two plans from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA):

Always carry your allergy action plan or put your action plan somewhere accessible easily in your home. If you do not have an action plan, ask your general practice team to fill one out with you.

Wear a medical bracelet or necklace

Wear a medical bracelet or necklace saying what you're allergic to. This can be very helpful for health professionals when treating you.

Remind your healthcare team

Always remind your general practice team or pharmacist of your allergies before starting any new treatment, including complementary, over-the-counter or herbal medicines.

Content shared between HealthInfo Canterbury, KidsHealth and Health Navigator NZ as part of a National Health Content Hub collaborative. Page created July 2022.


Page reference: 1008508

Review key: HIALL-38559