Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When EpiPens Attack

Sometimes, when we are trying to do a good thing, bad things happen by mistake. Sometimes, we pick up what we think is an EpiPen training device and...it's not. You're day is going along pretty well, you are trying to educate a friend on how to properly administer an EpiPen and hey, whoops! Wow....that was a real EpiPen. Oh, THAT WAS A REAL EPIPEN! So what do you do? What happens? Is it dangerous when your body is not in the same allergy- reacting mode when epinephrine would normally be used for good rather than evil? Luckily, I had a page member who shared details about the experience.

Hello, My Name is (Withheld)
The first thing this page member requested was that I not share who they are. There was a bit of embarrassment over the whole experience but I am here to say I'm happy they decided to talk about it. It happens- none of us are perfect so why not share it? NutriSon has asked me many times what would happen if it was used by accident. Although it has been told to us time and time again that the risks are minimal, I had always wondered myself. So Name Withheld, I am thanking you ahead of time and please don't be embarrassed- you were trying to show someone how to use an EpiPen. In my eyes and, I'm sure many others, you are a rock star. You may save one of us someday and that would be far from embarrassing. It's the exact opposite of embarrassing.

Just a Small Pinch
Photo courtesy EpiPen.com
Accordingly to Name Withheld (who is an adult) the item was an EpiPen Jr. dosage and it expired in 2012 so this may have lessened the possible side effects. For those of you who don't know, an EpiPen Jr. dosage contains 0.15 mg of epinephrine versus an EpiPen 0.3 mg and the box is green rather than yellow. Still, when someone is so engrossed and is passionate about training someone to save a life, sometimes even different colors and labels are easily missed in the process. Name Withheld told me that they never even realized the auto injector expelled until they saw a tiny amount of bleeding on the area. As a parent who wonders what it will feel like if my son has to have a dose of epinephrine, this makes me feel a bit more at ease. No matter how many times we all see the cool video posted by Dr. Julie Brown or hear people telling is "You will barely feel it" it's still a needle and it still freaks us all out. In case you haven't seen it before, watch below (thank you Dr. Julie for posting this!)

Is your computer spazzing out & won't let you watch it? Click here

See, not too bad right? So then what happens? According to Name Withheld, the area where the injection was given felt a little tender but nothing too terrible. Name Withheld also happily reported that although there was a small amount of dizziness, there was no racing heart beats or anything else. What I did find interesting was that Name Withheld stated there was conflicting information on the internet about what to do if you accidentally inject yourself. For instance, according to Poison.Org it may "sometimes lead to an emergency room visit" and an article on NCBI states "these devices are not without risk: myocardial infarction (aka heart attack) from injected epinephrine has been reported". As a Food Allergy Blogger, I have been told the correct protocol is always call 911 and/or go to the emergency room after using an epinephrine auto injector.

Paramedics It Is
Name Withheld has a family member within the Emergency Medical Service so they were called in to check everything out. No side effects were noted, no rapid heart beat or heart attacks and no other noticeable symptoms other than the embarrassment of it all. And although I hesitated to share the following photo with all of you, I felt it was a must to share. Think about it- you are surrounded by friends and family during this event so of course, someone in the crowd would feel compelled to take a picture of you while you are angry about the entire situation. After all, what are friends for if not to use a photo to sabotage you later on. If you don't have those types of friends, don't like snarky humor or get offended easily, please don't look at the photo below.

And there lies the used EpiPen!
Food Allergies Are Serious
Although I poke fun, I do it because food allergies are so serious. It's terribly nerve-wracking to be a parent and wonder if your child could have a reaction any minute. I don't poke fun to make anyone mad or to make light of such a serious situation- I do it because, in the midst of all of the stress of food allergies, there has to be a place where we can allow ourselves to escape and exhale, even for just a minute. Laughter is essential but so is making sure you are always prepared for a reaction.

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