Discussing the Correct Use of Your EpiPen

According to a recent survey of more than 900 allergy-sufferers, less than half of the American adults who had been prescribed an EpiPen for a severe allergic reaction did not use their auto-injector during an attack. One of the interesting findings in this research was that 89 percent of the people surveyed did have a filled prescription for an auto-injector. They had the tool but nearly half of respondents (45%) did not carry the device with them. This was an important finding considering that 78 percent of participants had reported being hospitalized for a severe allergic reaction at some point in their lives.

Data from the survey revealed that:

About half of the participants had an epinephrine auto-injector accessible at all times. “Accessible” was described as having access within 5 minutes of an attack.

  • 44 percent of the participants reported carrying their auto-injector with them all the time.
  • Less than 25 percent of participants carried more than one auto-injector at all times.
  • 21 percent of the people in the survey reported that they did not know how to use their auto-injector.

Epinephrine auto-injectors are a vital method of treating a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. It is vital that any person who has experienced or has a high risk of anaphylaxis reaction carry at least one auto-injector with them all the time. The reason for carrying a second device is to have a back-up in case the first does not work. Anaphylaxis may occur as a reaction to a medication, insect sting, food, or latex. Symptoms of this severe reaction include:

  • Hives or swelling
  • Hoarse voice
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fainting
  • Cardiac arrest

Epinephrine is the first-line defense against anaphylaxis. It should be administered at the first indication of a severe allergic reaction. It is necessary to know not only if an EpiPen is needed but also to know how to use this device so you can be adequately prepared to use it on yourself or someone you love. We can help.

If you would like to learn more about the value and use of an epinephrine auto-injector, call 314.473.5433 to schedule a consultation at our St. Louis or Festus, MO office.

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