FARE's Emergency Anaphylaxis Management Summit

Recently, I was invited to participate in a summit held by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) which sought to assess and improve the understanding and treatment of anaphylaxis by emergency medicine professionals.  These folks include first-line responders such as emergency medical technicians (EMTs), emergency medicine doctors, and paramedics.  This summit, which was held here in Chicago earlier this month was an amazing opportunity to meet with experts, friends, and colleagues from all over the country who are passionate about ensuring that individuals experiencing serious allergic reactions receive the best emergency care from medical professionals. Moreover, we want to ensure that these medical professionals are equipped with the best, most up-to-date information to treat anaphylaxis.  By the end of the summit, we developed the following set of action items, which comprise an agenda we will continue to pursue now that the summit is over.  These important action items include:

1) Creating a common description of anaphylaxis that may be used by healthcare professionals and patients for prompt and accurate diagnosis and treatment of anaphylaxis (including atypical presentations and biphasic reactions),
2) Facilitating partnerships with organizations representing the continuum of emergency care in order to improve recognition, treatment and long-term management of anaphylaxis,
3) Increasing usage of epinephrine, improving awareness of its first-line use in the management of anaphylaxis, and dispelling fears about contraindications and side effects,
4)Working with policymakers at every level to allow all EMTs to carry and administer stock epinephrine
5) Improving emergency department discharge protocols so that patients, particularly those with first-time reactions, are better informed about how to manage the ongoing risk of severe allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. Results of a recent FARE survey showed less than a quarter of respondents were given information about food allergies, referral to an allergist or a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector upon discharge from the emergency department.