Epinephrine – No Epi, No Eating!

Purse, pocket or Epi-belt this is now a part of your wardrobe you don’t leave home without! While Epinephrine is not a cure it does subside the symptoms until emergency personnel arrive.

One of my favorite training quotes was during teacher training a nurse told the staff:

 “The ER doc will never ask “why did you use the Epi-Pen, he will only ask why not?

Epinephrine is a medication that can temporarily reverse an allergic reaction until one can receive emergency medical treatment. Epi-pen and Auvi-Q are prescribed medications that easily administer epinephrine.

Antihistamines such as Benadryl are sometimes used for allergic reactions. Always consult a physician for more details about necessary medications and emergency medical plans.

 Important to know:

  • Epinephrine is temperature sensitive, and should not  be stored in extreme heat or cold
  • Look at the expiration date of your medication before leaving the pharmacy. You can find medication that is good for over a year. I once picked up medication that was going to expire in 6 months. The pharmacy called around to locate a batch which expired in over a year. 
Yes I have used an Epi-Pen…even on myself.

The First Time – A practice: This was and remains one of my more embarrassing moments. My Dr. and others love this story. I was training a young man who was going to watch the kids after school how to use the Epi-Pen. I accidentally grabbed the real epi-pen instead of the trainer and injected myself. Yes, the medication goes in fast. I was so embarrassed and my hand was shaking when I went to enter his phone number into my phone.

The Second Time – Real: Ryan asked the man who was serving smoothie samples at Wal-Mart what was in them. He showed him a cup of fruit and named off the berries. He then turned and poured the smoothie. Ryan knew there was something else and looked down to see a container of Almond milk. He panicked. He was white as a ghost and I wasn’t sure if it was the fear or the reaction. I pulled him into customer service, there an employee came up to us and said she had a nut allergy she then held his had and said “Hold my hand your Mom is going to give you a shot”. At that point, there was no turning back and I injected him.

A couple of side notes: The emergency plans worked. We knew what to do. Ryan learned a good lesson and gained a better understanding of who to trust. The smoothie/sampling company paid for the ER visit. The hardest part of that incident for me was the fear and panic Ryan experienced. It made me so sad to think he lives with that fear every day. It also made me realize that even I his Mom can’t really understand what that is like for him.

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