Author: Cari Welsh
Epinephrine Pens, or Epi Pens, are special syringes that are pre-filled with a prescription dose of epinephrine to be administered in the event of a severe allergic reaction. Epinephrine Pens can save the lives of people who suffer life threatening reactions to allergens such as bee stings, nuts and other foods. The dosage is often suited to the person whom it was prescribed. It is important for people who have been prescribed an Epinephrine Pen to always carry it with them and make sure co-workers, teachers and peers know how to administer it in the case of an emergency.
Operating an Epinephrine Pen is very straightforward.
- The first step is to remove the safety cap (on the back).
- The person administering the shot will hold the pen in their fist and push the needle end firmly into the victim in the side of the thigh muscle (between the hip and the knee).
- Hold the epinephrine pen in place for ten seconds, taking care to not twist or move the needle.
- After 10 seconds, the Epinephrine Pen is removed and a protective, safety sheath will cover the needle.
- After giving the injection rub the area of the shot for 10 seconds, to help get the medication into the bloodstream.
- One should also make note of the time the shot was delivered and then dispose of the Epinephrine Pen in a designated sharps container.
If at all possible, the person who is prescribed the Epinephrine Pen should deliver the shot to themselves, but in the event of a sudden, severe reaction, may need help. Advanced medical help should be notified and advised of the type of allergy, approximate time of the reaction and the time the epinephrine was administered. It is important to stay with the victim until medical help arrives. It may take a few minutes for the medicine to start working.
Sometimes the first exposure to an allergen may result in life threatening anaphylaxis reactions. Medical professionals also stress that delaying treatment with epinephrine in the case of the severe reactions is more likely to result in death. It is because of this warning, more schools are stocking extra Epi Pens and training personnel on their use. Tennessee passed legislation in 2013, joining 28 other states, to allow schools to keep epinephrine pens in stock and administer them in the case of an emergency.
Learn how to administer Epinephrine in one of our Heartsaver first aid classes. We also offer a Pediatric specific first aid class for daycares, churches, preschools and businesses working with children. Our first aid course covers a lot of subjects and will teach you what to do in an emergency.
Heartsaver CPR & First Aid Course curriculum:
- Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
- Child & Infant CPR
- Conscious & Unconscious Choking (Heimlich)
- Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
- Medical Emergencies
- Injury emergencies
- Environmental emergencies