Epinephrine auto-injectors such as an EpiPen can make all the difference, and are often seen as the one thing between life or death for people with severe allergies. EpiPen’s are frequently used for people who have severe allergies to bee stings, or for those with severe allergies to foods such as peanuts or seafood.
These severe allergies often trigger anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, meaning the person having the severe allergic reaction goes into shock that constricts the airways, resulting in inadequate oxygen and blood flow going to critical organs in the body.
During anaphylactic shock, a person’s airway is often affected, resulting in constriction, or tightness, of the throat, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. These life-threatening allergic reactions can also be accompanied by symptoms of an itchy rash, swelling of the tongue or throat, shortness of breath, vomiting, lightheadedness, headaches, and low blood pressure. It is important to note that not everyone affected by anaphylaxis will experience the same symptoms.
If you or someone close to you goes into anaphylactic shock, an EpiPen could end up being the difference between life and death, and the importance of having them around cannot be overstated.
What is an EpiPen?
An EpiPen, formally called an epinephrine auto-injector, is a type of auto injector filled with epinephrine, a form of adrenaline that is commonly secreted by the adrenal glands. Those who experience severe allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock are no strangers to using an EpiPen. The epinephrine inside the EpiPen will narrow blood vessels and open airways in the body. To use the EpiPen, the EpiPen should immediately be injected into your outer thigh (upper leg). As anaphylaxis occurs very quickly and sometimes without warning, having the EpiPen available at all times is crucial to stopping the allergic reaction.
Acting fast during these severe allergic reactions can make all the difference. In all cases of anaphylaxis, prompt assessment and treatment are critical. Epinephrine is the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis. Therefore, if you suspect a severe allergic reaction, don’t hesitate to use the epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen), and seek emergency medical care immediately, even if the EpiPen has calmed the symptoms.
In less severe allergic reactions, over the counter diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can calm symptoms, however you should consult with your doctor if you have a history of severe allergies. Given the unpredictable and life-threatening nature of anaphylaxis, nothing is costlier than failed or no treatment.
To learn more about an EpiPen and the treatment of severe allergies, call Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at 8154777350 to request an appointment, or request one online.