Anaphylactic Shock & Emergency Epinepherine

Severe allergies are becoming more and more common, not only in adults, but in children too. Some allergens that trigger severe reactions in certain individuals include bees, seafood, insect stings or bites, nuts, medications and other allergens. Although mild allergies are extremely common, more and more people are beginning to develop severe, life-threatening allergies.

Anaphylaxis
For many individuals, allergies can be so severe that they go into anapphylactic shock. Also known as anaphylaxis, anaphylactic shock is a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction to something the individual has come into direct or indirect contact with. Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds to minutes of the person being exposed to an allergen. The body suddenly releases a flood of chemicals as a result of the exposure and the person is likely to experience a drop in blood pressure due to excess dilation of the blood vessels and constriction of the airways. The person may exhibit wheezing, nausea, vomiting, a sudden rash, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and may even lose consciousness.

Emergency treatment for anaphylaxis
A person in anaphylactic shock requires immediate medical attention. If medical attention is not sought, the person could die. In most cases, the person suffering is administered adrenaline. The adrenaline administered in medical situations is known as epinepherine. The administration of epinepherine can help reverse anaphylactic shock by reversing some of the physical changes that occur during anaphylaxis. Epinepherine constricts the blood vessels, thus raising blood pressure and helps dilate the airways allowing the person to breathe.

Emergency epinepherine
Health professionals, such as EMTs and nurses, as well as individuals with known allergies that may lead to anaphylaxis often carry epinepherine on their person at all times. Although epinepherine is available in vials for use with a needle and syringe, most emergency epinepherine is available in what is known as an epinepherine pen. These pens allow for quick and easy administration of epinepherine in an emergency situation. When someone is suffering from anaphylaxis, there may not be time to measure and dispense epinepherine using a needle and syringe. An epinepherine pen is already measured, dosed and ready for quick administration, saving valuable time.

Epinepherine pens are available by many brand names, but are usually referred to as EpiPens, one of the more popular brands. Other brands available include AnaPen, AnaKit, AnaGuard and Min-I-Jet.

How are epinepherine pens used?
Epinepherine pens typically have a button or a trigger that releases a needle to administer the medication into the person’s system. These pens should only be administered on the outside of the thigh, never on the buttock or into a vein.

Who should use an epinepherine pen?
Epinepherine pens can have adverse affects so it is very important that these pens are only used by people who have a written prescription from their doctor, or are being administered the medication by an emergency medical professional such as an EMT, paramedic or nurse.

References
Anaphylaxis EpiPen Information

EpiPen

EpiPen – Adrenaline

Anaphylaxis – Life-Threatening Allergy