First Aid and Anaphylaxis

Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

Your environmental health officer may ask if you have a completed First Aid training. The HSE recommends that businesses with fewer than 50 staff members should have at least one qualified and appointed First Aider.

First Aid courses can last anything from half a day to 3 days. The half-day courses are not usually accredited, so it is highly recommended to at least complete a full day of First Aid training.

These regulations also require that every employer provides equipment or facilities for providing First Aid to their employees. Even if you do not have employees, having a First Aid Kit to hand when required is good practice.

A First Aid box and an eyewash station with single-use pods should be enough, with extra items kept aside for restocking.

Your First Aid box should contain the following:

Number of Employees 1-5 6-10 11-50
Contents QTY QTY QTY
First Aid Guidance Notes 1 1 1
Individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings 20 20 40
Sterile Eye Pads, with attachment 1 2 4
Sterile triangular bandages 1 2 4
Safety Pins 6 6 12
Medium sized sterile unmedicated dressings 3 6 8
Large sterile unmedicated dressings 1 2 4
Extra Large sterile unmedicated dressings 1 2 4


First Aid boxes must not include any form of medication, such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen


Some allergies can lead to a severe allergic reaction – known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening.

Symptoms can occur quickly or within hours following contact with an allergen. Prompt treatment can save a life.

Common causes

Common causes of anaphylaxis are wasp and bee stings as well as food, such as peanuts, nuts, sesame seed, fish and shellfish, dairy products and egg. Other causes include latex, penicillin and some other medications.

For some, fatigue or exercise may cause anaphylaxis – alone or in combination with other triggers like food or medication. Cold can also be a cause. In rare cases, a reaction can occur without apparent cause.


  • Itching, especially under the feet, in the hands or on the head
  • A stinging feeling in the mouth
  • Swelling in the mouth, throat, lips or eyes
  • Itching, redness or nettle-rash anywhere on the body
  • Dizziness, anxiety, cold sweating
  • Abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath or asthma symptoms
  • Sudden fatigue, decreased blood pressure or fainting
  • Disorientation or loss of consciousness

Critical symptoms: difficulty to breath, mouth and throat swell, sudden fatigue or dizziness, experiencing a steady worsening of symptoms.


Adrenaline is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis. It is the only medication available for the immediate treatment of severe allergic reactions. Some people prone to allergic reactions that can result is anaphylaxis may carry an epi-pen that THEY administer in the event of a reaction.

Antihistamine and steroid tablets. Antihistamine reduces hives, itching and irritation. Cortisone reduces the risk of late-onset reactions that can occur some hours following contact with allergens.

Who is at risk of anaphylaxis?

A person who has previously experienced anaphylaxis – irrespective of cause – is at risk in the future.

If the reaction was caused by peanuts, shellfish or fish, it should not be ignored, even if mild. This is especially important if the reaction was caused by peanuts. This is also the case for certain drugs, insect stings or latex. Your doctor will give you essential information and prescribe suitable medication.

When your client suffers from anaphylaxis

Do not underestimate the severity of an allergic reaction. Use your adrenaline auto-injector according to its instructions.

If your client experiences these critical symptoms, alert a first aider (if it is not yourself). Assist the first aider if asked by calling 999 and say “suspected anaphylaxis”.

If possible, someone should wait outside to show the ambulance crew where you are.

Let ambulance personnel know about the client’s medical history and treatment undertaken.

Managing Complications 

Anyone working in aesthetics or undertaking treatments that break the skin or potentially break the skin, e.g. injectables or involve the injection of application of a product that could cause an allergic reaction, should undertake appropriate training in managing complications. Training should be taken regularly to ensure you stay up to date with current regulations and feel confident in dealing with any issues that should arise.

Complication’s training is usually in addition to first aid and anaphylaxis training.

Understanding the array of issues that could be presented from aesthetic procedures will allow you to confidently provide treatments to your clients.

Invasive procedures always carry more risk than other treatments in a salon, and it is important that we are able to identify risk and know how to avoid it.

Emergency Plan

The emergency plan is the responsibility of the regulated independent prescriber. The emergency plan includes the appropriate onsite response, healthcare referral process and access to an emergency kit suitable to deal with adverse reactions or incidents. The regulated independent prescriber has a duty of care to their patients to follow regulatory guidelines set by their Professional, Statutory and Regulated Body.

The client may contact you directly with any issues, and you must also raise any concerns to the prescriber to arrange a care plan for the client.