With children starting back at school and childcare and recent changes to how EpiPens are used it’s a good time for a review.
Why are EpiPens used?
An EpiPen is used in a situation where someone has a severe allergic reaction. This reaction can be life threatening and requires immediate use of an EpiPen which contains adrenalin.
Anaphylaxis sufferers can be allergic to various things such as foods, insect bites and stings, medicines, latex and more.
In any situation where an EpiPen is used an ambulance should also be called.
How to use an EpiPen
- If the sufferer is able to they should give themselves the EpiPen. If not it should be administered by someone else
- An EpiPen comes in a carry case and is easily removed from this by flipping open the cap and sliding the pen out.
- Make sure to sit or lay the person on the ground before using the EpiPen
- Grip the EpiPen around the middle by making a fist. It is important not to have any part of your hand around the bottom of the EpiPen as this is where the medicine comes out.
- To remember which way to hold the EpiPen remember the rhyme
“blue to the sky and orange to the thigh”
This means point the blue end away from the person and point the orange end towards the thigh
- When the EpiPen is held correctly the blue safety cap can be removed and the EpiPen placed against the persons thigh
- It is fine to give the EpiPen through clothing just remember to avoid seams, buttons etc as the needle won’t be able to pass through these
- Push the EpiPen in hard against the person until a click is heard
- The EpiPen should be held in place in the persons thigh for 3 seconds
- After this time the pen can be removed from the person
- Keep the person laying down and call 000
- Record what time the EpiPen was given because if there is no response after 5 minutes a second EpiPen can be given
- Each pen can only be used once. When the pen has been used the viewing window becomes black
- Always check the viewing window before using an EpiPen and if it is not clear then that EpiPen should not be used
- Check expiry dates regularly to make sure the EpiPen you have is in date
- Store your EpiPen out of the sun
EpiPen usage changes
The recommended time to leave the EpiPen in the thigh used to be 10 seconds. The recommended time is now 3 seconds.
It was previously recommended to massage the site where the EpiPen was injected. This is now no longer recommended.
To watch an EpiPen training video visit www.allergy.org.au