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The EpiPen And EpiPen Jr. - When Every Second Counts For The Anaphylactic.

Updated on January 8, 2010

EpiPen Trainers, EpiPen Carrier Cases and Totes.

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Being a mother to a toddler that suffers from eczema, I was somewhat taken aback when our allergist specialist prescribed an EpiPen Jr. for her.

I wasn't quite sure what the link between the skin condition of my two year old and an EpiPen was, so I enquired if this action was really necessary.

The allergist specialist explained to me that this was merely a precaution, since it had been previously determined through blood-test, that several foods such as tree nuts, eggs, and dairy caused my daughter's condition to flare up.

On more than one occasion during her prognosis, I personally witnessed my toddler's face and body swell, and become red and splotchy immediately after consuming eggs or dairy products.

During those occasions, I'd immediately reach for the prescription antihistamine blocker to reduce the swelling.

Therefore, it was a combination of those events and the blood-test, that convinced the allergist specialist that my toddler would benefit from this lifesaving auto-injector.

Of course, I only knew one thing about the EpiPen Jr. - that it could mean the difference between life and death for those suffering from severe allergic reactions.

So with a little research, I educated myself on the ins and outs of the EpiPen and EpiPen Jr.

Here's what I learned:

* When To Use Your EpiPen/EpiPen Jr.

The EpiPen/EpiPen are specifically made for the treatment of severe allergic reactions (or anaphylaxis) that may occur from insect stings or bits, certain foods or drugs, latex, exercise-induced anaphylaxis, other allergens, or unknown causes.

Once the pen has been activated, the remaining epinephrine solution cannot be used (it is for this reason that the pen should be used wisely - once activated, if the solution is not used, it becomes obsolete).

* How severe is severe?

According to the patient insert placed in every box of EpiPens/EpiPen Jrs. (which every carrier or guardian of whom the EpiPen/EpiPen Jr. was prescribed to should read), anaphylactic reactions would include those "that occur within minutes after exposure and consist of flushing, apprehension, syncope (medical term for fainting, loss of consciousness due to the lack of oxygen to the brain), tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat), thready or unobtainable pulse associated with a fall in blood pressure, convulsions, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, involuntary voiding (no control over urinating or defecating functions), wheezing, dyspnea (shortness of breath) due to laryngeal spasm (uncontrolled/involuntary muscular contraction or spasm of the laryngeal cords. The condition typically lasts less than 30 or 60 seconds, and causes a partial blocking of breathing in, while breathing out remains easier - Wikipedia), pruritus (uncontrollable itching), rashes, urticaria (skin rash that is notable by dark red, raised, itchy bumps), or angioedema (rapid swelling of the skin - commonly known as hives)."

In the event you are still not sure when the EpiPen/EpiPen Jr. should be used, always consult your physician.

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Tips For Parents With Kids Suffering From Food Allergies - Recipes And Other Special Food Ideas.

* How Do I Use The EpiPen/EpiPenJr.? - The Dos And Don'ts.

Every box of pens include two pre-filled automatic infection devices, and one practice pen. In addition to the physician (even the pharmacist will show you how to use it), the practice pen and accompanied patient insert provides simple, yet detailed instructions on how to use the EpiPen/EpiPen Jr.

The Dos.

  1. Unscrew the yellow or green cap off of the pen's carrying case and remove the EpiPen/EpiPen Jr. from its storage tube.
  2. Grasp the pen with the black tip pointing downward.
  3. Form fist around the pen (black tip down).
  4. With your opposite hand, pull off the ray safety release (once this release is removed, the contents need to be used or it becomes obsolete - therefore it's important to use the pen only if necessary).
  5. Grasp hold to a chunk of your outer thigh and hold black tip near outer thigh (do not inject into buttocks - it may not provide effective treatment, and accidentally injection of the hands, feet, or digits may result in loss of blood flow to the effected area. NOT FOR INTERVENOUS INJECTION).
  6. Swing and jab firmly into outer thigh until you hear the pen click (the unit should be perpendicular to the thigh at an 90 degree angle, and can work through clothes as well).
  7. Hold pen firmly against thigh for approximately 10 seconds (it is at this time that the injection is complete. The window on the pen will show red).
  8. Remove the pen from the thigh, and massage injection area for 10 seconds.
  9. Call 911 or seek immediate medical attention.
  10. Carefully place the used EpiPen/EpiPen Jr. (avoid bending the needle) needle-end first, into the storage tube of the carrying case. Screw the cap of the storage tube back on completely, and take it with you to the hospital emergency room.

The Don'ts.

  1. Don't put your thumb, fingers, or hand over the black tip of the EpiPen/EpiPen Jr.
  2. Don't remove the gray safety release until you are ready to use it.
  3. Don't use if the solution is discolored or the red flag appears in the clear window of pen.
  4. Don't place foreign objects in carrier with auto-injector.

* How Do I Care For And Store My EpiPen/EpiPen Jr.?

  1. Always store the pen where it is easly accessbilbe (I keep one at home in my kitchen cabinet, and one in my toddlers diaper bag).
  2. Keep the pen stored in a dark area (must protect it from light, since the light can affect the effectiveness of the solution).
  3. Never store it in the refrigerator.
  4. Never expose it to extreme heat or cold.
  5. Never store it in your auto's glove compartment.
  6. Replace your auto-injector before its expiration date (which is clearly labeled on the top end of the box it arrives in).
  7. Dispose of expired auto-injectors in three ways:
  • take it to your doctor's office
  • take it to your local hospital
  • take it to your local pharmacy

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* What Else Should I Know About EpiPens/EpiPen Jrs.?

Since there are some drug interactions, and at times adverse reactions while using the EpiPen/EpiPen Jr.during special circumstances (i.e. pregnant women, pediatric patients under 30 kg (66lbs), those suffering with cardiovascular disease, etc.), it is vital that every patient becomes informed by way of the patient insert provided in each box.

In addition, the EpiPen Center For Anaphylactic Support (CAS), has provided a free information resource for those suffering from severe allergic reactions. Any who take advantage of this program, will receive expiration auto-injector reminders, as well as information about managing their severe allergic reactions, resource listings, and valuable offers.

One simply has to fill out the enrollment form at the bottom of their patient insert, and register their EpiPen/EpiPen Jr.

In addition, the best advice anyone who suffers from severe allergic reactions should keep in mind is to use the practice pen often, show friends, family and regular acquaintances how to use it, always keep one auto-injector close by, and in the event you need to use it, seek emergency medical attention immediately after use.

In the end, those at risk for anaphylactic shock should be constantly aware of how important it is to reduce and counteract any allergic reaction they may face.

Simply put, every second counts!

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    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I am so thankful for these devices. I keep one in reach at all times for my little one. Thanks wjames for stopping by, reading, and commenting.

    • wjames profile image


      8 years ago

      I was recently discussing this subject with a friend of mine. This EpiPen is a must to have. This can be a scary situation to be in. I am going to get me one.

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for stopping by creativeone59. Your comments are always appreciated.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      9 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for very important hub on the Epipen, thanks for sharing it. godspeed. creativeone 59

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks so much fortunerep. So far we haven't had to use it, and I hope it stays that way. I've heard how scary the experience can be for adults, so I can only imagine how it could be for a child. Thanks for stopping by.

    • fortunerep profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina


      I have to have an epipen too for I am allergic to bees. Don't have to use it often and I hope you child want either, it is a scary experience. My thoughts are with you


    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you Hello, hello for your kind comment - I try my best. I really do hope this information helps others (especially parents or gaurdians whose little ones suffer from this condition). As long as I keep my daughter away from those foods, I know she'll be okay. Thank you for your geniuine concern.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      This a very informative hub which only can come from a loving and caring mother, like you. I am sure people will really be grateful for all these tips and advice. I am so sorry your little one has that. Wish you the best and recovery.


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