Monday, July 2, 2012

How to... use an EpiPen

We'll continue Aidan's story later in the week, but today's post is a really important one.  It comes from and is full of really crucial information.  You could save a child's life in an emergency.

What is an EpiPen®?

The EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors (0.3 and 0.15 mg epinephrine) are used for the injection of epinephrine, the first-line treatment for allergic emergencies (anaphylaxis). EpiPen Auto-Injector is used to treat signs and symptoms of an allergic emergency, some of which include hives, redness of the skin, tightness in the throat, breathing problems and/or a decrease in blood pressure. Allergic emergencies can be caused by triggers such as food, stinging and biting insects, medicines, latex, or even exercise.

When to Use Your EpiPen®

If you, your child, or someone you're caring for shows signs or symptoms of an allergic emergency, inject the health care professional-prescribed EpiPen or EpiPen Jr. immediately, then promptly call 911 and seek immediate medical attention. Signs of an allergic emergency may include:
  • Closing of your breathing airways
  • Wheezing
  • Sneezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue
  • Numbness or tingling of the lips or tongue
  • Skin redness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Weak pulse
  • Feeling very anxious
  • Confusion
  • Stomach pain
  • Losing control of urine or bowel movements (incontinence)
  • Faintness or "passing out" (unconsciousness)
Don’t be afraid to use the EpiPen Auto-Injector during an allergic emergency. Using it at the start of such an emergency may prevent the reaction from becoming worse. Remember, the EpiPen Auto-Injector is not a substitute for emergency medical treatment.

How to Use Your EpiPen®

1.    Pull off blue safety release cap.
2.    Swing and firmly push orange tip against outer thigh so it ‘clicks.’ HOLD on thigh approximately 10 seconds to deliver drug.
3.    Seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 and going to the closest medical facility. Take the used EpiPen Auto-Injector(s) with you to hospital emergency department.

If there's one thing you can take from this post, please let it be that you should NEVER be too afraid to use an Epi-Pen.  If there's the slightest thought in your mind that it might be necessary, please use it.  It can only help.

1 comment:

  1. I always wondered why doctors don't routinely dispense epi pens to all parents before they try potentially allergenic foods like peanut butter or shellfish with their children. It seems odd that we wait until there is a problem, then contact the pedi and then get the pen.