Friday, July 12, 2013

It's Summer- Getting Ready For School NOW!

Yup, you read that right- get ready for school. Each end of summer, I find myself rushing around to various pharmacies, doctors and schools trying to get organized for the new school year. There are refills to be picked up, antihistamines to be sought out, paperwork (ugh, the paperwork!) and it all ends up with one tired, stressed out mama.

This year, I decided to challenge myself to do the reverse- I vowed to get ready for school at the beginning of summer. Sort of like reverse psychology on myself. But it's the end of June and I am almost done, so I feel that I have (almost) accomplished my goal. Better yet, I do not feel stressed out or rushed to do all of the things that need to be done. Less stress for mom also means less stress for the kids, which also starts the new school year off even better.

I was recently asked what types of bracelets, inhalers and other allergy items we have used and found useful so I wanted to share with all of you. Obviously, this is just what we have found worked best for our family so I encourage everyone to look at all of the options that are available in case there is a better one for your family's needs.

EpiPens - Until this year, we have been a die hard fan of the EpiPen® 2-Pak®. We have always, ALWAYS used a twin pack because I would never forgive myself if my son needed an EpiPen® and something happened to the only one that he had with him and was unable to use it. I will admit that the EpiPen® tends to be big and bulky but as I remind my son all of the time- one day, when you need to use it and you have it with you, the bulkiness will instantly mean nothing to you. There will be no hard feelings of "All of my childhood, I had to carry thins thing around" because the thoughts will be replaced by "These saved my life."

I do also want to mention that we have always had three (if not four) twin paks filled- one for home, one for school and one for self-carry for my son. This year, we are also taking full advantage of the discount coupon offered to refill all of our EpiPens®. The coupon is a simple card  that you present with your prescription for EpiPen (epinephrine) Auto-Injector 2-Pak® or the EpiPen Jr® (epinephrine) Auto-Injector 2-Pak. A maximum benefit of $100 per EpiPen 2-Pak is covered and the discount offer may be used on up to three EpiPen® 2-Paks per prescription. This offer can be used an unlimited number of times until 12/31/2015. If you are new to the EpiPen®, you can also  sign up to receive a free carrying case, to receive email reminders and other great information to keep you up to date and safe. Click here for the site. The cost of our three TwinPak EpipEns this year? $0......yes, you did read that correctly. Let me type it again- $0.

Auvi-Q - As per my son's request to be "bulk-free" this year, we have decided to try out the newer, thinner auto injector Auvi-Q. The smaller size will allow my son to self-carry in a much smaller pouch rather than having to use a fanny pack. And because starting 7th Grade is such a big deal, I have to help him achieve that goal. Luckily, Auvi-Q is also offering a discount coupon and yes, we also utilized that as well (why not?!). This offer states that the prescription will cost no more than $25 for the first two prescriptions filled and that's just what we got- 2 (twin packs + testers). Woo-hoo, happy dance from the food allergy mama that feels as if the budget goes out the window when it comes time for refills. With this offer, it is required that you call to activate the card before going to fill the prescription. For more details, please click here.

Medical Bracelet -  I have ordered from two places for my son's medical bracelets. I have used MedicAlert a few times in the past successfully. We have tried a necklace, a silver bracelet and a sports band. I feel that our personal favorite has been the sports band. It's a nylon bracelet with a plastic latch that interlocks so when your child is younger, it's not as easy to take off. This was key for us because my son loved to take his off and on and off and on. As far as the necklace and silver bracelet- I'll pass. Again, because he was younger then he not only put them in his mouth (which caused concerns of choking) but it also turned the color of the silver and looked just plain gross.

The newest bracelet is from Survival Straps and it's a winner! You can order different colors, it's lightweight, also interlocking and it is actually something that can be taken apart and used in an emergency (this intrigued my son). As you will see on their site, they have "Design your own Medic Alert bracelet" and the price was very reasonable. A good budget is a good thing!

Inhaler- With food allergies many times also comes seasonal asthma. My son was given his inhaler after an ER visit. He started off with Proventil using an air chamber. Note the "Latex Free" label on it- one more place to check with allergies!. My only complaint was that we never knew how much was left inside of the inhaler. And when you have to fill extras for school, home, etc. the co pays start to add up. Regardless, it's necessary to have them so what do you do but fill them?

A few years ago, after another emergency room visit, we were given an inhaler with a counter on it. I thought this was genius but I could not find any doctors that would prescribe it for my son. Luckily, a year or two later they were available through prescription. And behold- our newest inhaler Ventolin HFA. Same size, just provides you with a countdown of how many puffs you have left in the canister.

I also recommend having some type of portable Peak Flow Meter. The one shown here is the one we have at home but many insurance companies will even provide you with one free travel-size peak flow meter that fits into many
medical pouches. Be sure and check with your insurance company to see if you are eligible for any free asthma supplies.

Bags- When my son was younger, I always carried his necessary medications in the diaper bag since it was always with me anyway. As he got older and entered school, we transitioned to a simple plastic zip lock bag for his teachers and nurse. When he began to take field trips and the teachers felt that he should be responsible for his items, we switched to a fanny pack. And, even though I know it's best for my son, I hate that he has to wear it. I admit it, it's terrible to say but I know he hates it therefore, I hate it.

(Photo from AllergyApparel.com
As I have said, this year starts 7th Grade so we are going to get rid of the fanny pack. We are going to order something smaller and more discreet that will fit the Auvi-Q and a few antihistamine packets. I have yet to order but AllergyApparel.com looks like a great place to find what we will need. There is a variety of smaller pouches and my son seems a bit more at ease since they can be hidden under clothing better. As for his inhaler, we are considering something as seen on OmaxCare.com . Again, smaller, discreet and different. I think at this point, my son is just asking for a change and as long as he understands that he needs to have access to everything, I am willing to help him find ways to do that.

The most important thing to remember is to be prepared BEFORE there is an emergency. Don't wait until after school is in session to have everything in order because not having the right life-saving medications could be the difference between life and death. You can never be prepared completely for what may happen duing an allergic reaction but you can always make sure that you have what you need when it does happen.




3 comments:

  1. My daughter's school starts soon and we're gearing up too. I just can't believe it is already here. Great resources! I'll share this post on Twitter! The survival straps are new to me, so again, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I bought the waistpal from Omaxcare and the survival strap medical id after reading your post and my son really likes them both. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you were able to find items that you liked! ~ Tracy

      Delete