How to use an EpiPen :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

How To Use an EpiPen

Knowing how to use an EpiPen is important. Doctors are seeing more and more children with allergies, especially food allergies. Due to the unpredictable nature of allergic reactions, epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) are prescribed. EpiPens deliver medicine quickly and effectively. No child has ever had serious problems from a standard dose of epinephrine when using an EpiPen.

Times when you need to use an EpiPen can be stressful. To calmly react to an allergic reaction, know when and how to use an EpiPen, and have an action plan in place.

Video Transcript

I’m allergic to nuts.

I can’t eat strawberries.

Milk doesn’t like me.

Mommy says I got an allergy.

I get all red and bumpy.

My eyes get puffy, like this.

I don’t breathe so good.

My tongue gets itchy.

It made me really scared.

This-

This-

This-

Is-

My-

EpiPen

EpiPen

My EpiPen

Take it out of the case and pop off the cap. Make a fist, like this. Like this.

Kids like me sit on laps. Bigger kids sit or lie down. Here’s the spot, just hold my leg still. Press, click and hold. Be sure you hear the click. Hold it there for 10 seconds. That’s 10 seconds. Always have an extra EpiPen ready, because the medicine can wear off. Then call 9-1-1. Easy, right?

Today, doctors are seeing more and more children with allergies, especially food allergies. In a room of 20 kids, one or more of them will have allergies. While most allergic reactions result in merely uncomfortable symptoms, some anaphylactic reactions may be more serious and even life-threatening. About 150 children and young adults die from food allergies every year in the United States. Due to the unpredictable nature of allergic reactions, over 2.4 million epinephrine auto-injectors, such as this, are currently bine prescribed. EpiPens deliver medicine quickly and effectively. But they only work if there is somebody around who knows where the pen is, when to use it, how to use it and will actually do it.

Times when you need to use an EpiPen can be stressful and may even be life-threatening, so it is important to have a plan of action so you can calmly react to the situation. Knowing when to use an EpiPen can be easy. If a child eats something they’re allergic to, has hives and is wheezing, give the shot. Sometimes however, symptoms may not be as obvious. So, if you are in doubt, always give the shot. You may not even have known what the child has eaten. But if you do suspect an allergic reaction or a child is demonstrating two or more symptoms, don’t wait. The longer you wait to administer an EpiPen, the harder it is to stop an allergic reaction, mild or sever, and allergic reactions can change from mild to fatal, quickly.

No child has ever died or had serious problems from a standard dose of epinephrine. To protect the child in your life, be prepared – memorize these steps and practice them.

Review each child’s action plan.

Know where each child’s EpiPen is – locate it.

Epi=911. If you get it, call it.

Take the EpiPen out of its case.

Hold it in a firm fist-grip.

Remove the cap.

Make sure the child is sitting or lying down.

Identify the big muscle in the thigh.

Hold the leg and the child steadily.

Press the orange part firmly against the thigh so that it clicks – stay there, don’t bounce.

Hold for 10 seconds – Press, Click and Hold.

Some of you may have an epinephrine injector that looks like this. This training device has yellow caps, but yours may have a different color. This has the same medicine as the EpiPen, the same kind of spring-loaded needle, and is used for exactly the same reasons. This injector has two safety caps. Hold the injector in a fist grip. Don’t put your thumb on either end. Remove both safety caps. The red end is the action end. That’s where the needle comes out. Remember, red to the leg. The red end should not touch anything else. Again, make sure the child is sitting or lying down and hold for 10 seconds. For this device the needle will remain exposed after use. Please put it down carefully or put it back in the case. And if you haven’t done so already, call 911. As with any emergency medication or device, please be familiar with it before you use it.

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Additional EpiPen Resources

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000