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.