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You Have Your Anaphylaxis Plan, Now What Should You Do?

DakotaAllergy_Anaphylaxis Plan-1

 

(Hint—Practice)

If you or your family member has suffered from anaphylaxis caused by allergies to a food, a yellow jacket sting, or something idiopathic, there has already been one terrible reaction. If that's the case, you or your loved one have already seen an allergist, determined the cause, had epinephrine prescribed, and were taught how and when to use it, and time has been spent avoiding the trigger.

Lindsey Peterson, CNP, at Dakota Allergy & Asthma reported at the February 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology the results of her recent study to determine how well patients and their caregivers remember how to use epinephrine devices. It is important to remember that epinephrine is an intervention that can save a life during an anaphylactic reaction.

She found that 56% of patients or their caregiver could correctly administer their epinephrine.

 

What kinds of errors were found? 

  • 14% had no idea of what to do.
  • 14% didn’t remove the safety cap.
  • 8% injected their thumb, which offers poor delivery for the patient, and the caregiver might accidentally get the dose. 
  • 6% injected their inner thigh, which could cause potential blood vessel issues. 
  • 2% bounced and would have cut the leg with the needle and not given the dose.

 

How-To-Use-an-EpiPen1_stats_vs1-1

 

More importantly, how can we see 100% correct administration?

  1. We are suggesting practice sessions at the beginning of each month. Everyone actually needs to do hands-on administration with the trainer device. It is a great time to discuss where the epinephrine device is kept, what symptoms warrant administration, and what is the plan once it is given (all things in the anaphylaxis plan from your allergist).
  2. Have at least a yearly recheck with your allergist to review your plan and have adjustments made that are needed.
  3. Check in with your allergist if questions come up.

 

"Remember—working together offers the best allergy relief!

 

Reference:

Outcomes of Simulated Use of Epinephrine Injection USP Auto-injectors

L.R. Peterson, CNP1, C.R. Cullinane, Ph.D2, M.J. Kane, M.Sc.2, M.E. Bubak, MD1

1Dakota Allergy & Asthma, Sioux Falls, SD, 2Pirouette Medical, LLC, Boston, MA

Presented February 24, 2019 at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, San Francisco, CA.

Topics: Allergies

Mark Bubak, M.D.

About the Author: Mark Bubak, M.D.

Dr. Bubak is certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology to care for adults and children with asthma and allergies. He has been active in allergy research and education with special emphasis on new allergy testing and treatment methods. A South Dakota native, his medical degree is from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, with Allergy and Internal Medicine fellowships at the Mayo Clinic.

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