Would you know how to use an EpiPen?

Would you know how to use an EpiPen (epinephrine injection) if someone collapsed with a severe allergic reaction? The recent inquest into the death of Nasar Ahmed, a 14-year-old boy from North London, who died from an allergic reaction to his school dinner, revealed teachers had his EpiPen in their hands, but did not know how to use it. The inquest concluded that despite having an EpiPen available, and a history of severe asthma and food allergies, the school neglected their duty of care by failing to use his Epipen.

Nasar’s tragic death should be seen as a reminder of the potential severity of conditions such as asthma and anaphylaxis, which are often dismissed because they are so common.

Nasar’s tragic death should be seen as a reminder of the potential severity of conditions such as asthma and anaphylaxis, which are often dismissed because they are so common.

Also, it underlines the importance of people knowing how to use an EpiPen. You could be in the same position as the teachers at Nasar’s school or working with someone with an acute allergy. Anaphylaxis can happen anytime, anywhere.

Some people assume that taking OTC medications like Piriton will be sufficient to stop a severe allegic reaction. In fact, although Piriton can be used to ease allergy symptoms like streaming noses, sneezing and hives, it is not suitable for anaphylaxis.

Piriton takes about 15 minutes to work and is no good if their airway is already closing. It is therefore not the drug of choice if there is a severe life-threatening allergic reaction.

Piriton takes about 15 minutes to work and is no good if their airway is already closing. It is therefore not the drug of choice if there is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction.

If someone has been prescribed an EpiPen and they are showing signs of a severe systemic reaction or they are having difficulty breathing – they should be given their EpiPen quickly. The faster it is given the better the prognosis.

Adrenaline is metabolised within about 10-15 minutes and so people should not worry about giving an intramuscular injection to people. They will not do any harm.

Adrenalin reduces swelling, dilates the airways and buys the person time.

An Ambulance must always be called immediately and the caller should state Anaphylaxis, This is treated as a very high priority call.

Emma Hammett

Emma Hammett

Emma Hammett is an experienced nurse and first aid trainer, she has worked in many areas including A&E, Children’s Ward, Burns Unit and Acute medical and surgical wards before becoming hospital manager of Hammersmith and Charing Cross Hospitals. In 2007, she founded First Aid for Life and is shortly going to publish her second book, Burns, Falls and Emergency Calls – The ultimate guide to the prevention and treatment of childhood accidents.
Emma Hammett

Latest posts by Emma Hammett (see all)

Share:  

More in this category

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
wpDiscuz