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How to Use an Epinephrine Auto-Injector

If you or a loved one has had a severe allergic reaction in the past, your physician may ask you to carry an epinephrine auto-injector, such as EpiPen. Before you end up in an emergency situation, you'll need to know how it works.


  • : Epinephrine auto-injectors are for use in emergency situations and should be administered according to the prescription.
  • Step 1: Confirm symptoms Look for signs that the victim is suffering from anaphylaxis, such as difficulty breathing. You may also notice hives, swelling, watery eyes, dizziness, and other symptoms of distress.
  • Step 2: Read instructions Read the instructions on the side of the pen before administering the medication.
  • Step 3: Remove cap Remove the cap from the injector pen.
  • TIP: It is generally not necessary to remove clothing to use the injector. However, if the clothing is especially thick or layered, you may need to remove it before administering the injection.
  • Step 4: Press against thigh Hold the tip of the pen against the middle of the thigh and press into it with medium pressure for a few seconds. The injector will activate to administer the medicine automatically.
  • TIP: After using the pen, briefly massage the injection site with your fingertips to aid in circulating the medicine.
  • Step 5: Seek medical attention Keep the patient relaxed and warm, and immediately seek further medical attention by calling 911 or going to an emergency room.
  • Step 6: Discard Dispose of the used pen properly by replacing the cap and wrapping the container in plastic before discarding, to prevent further needle sticks.
  • FACT: The leading cause of anaphylaxis that occurs outside of hospitals is food allergies, which account for 100 to 200 deaths in the U.S. each year.

You Will Need

  • Symptoms
  • Epinephrine auto-injector
  • Medical attention

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