Following his anaphylactic reaction to a peanut cookie at 20 months old, D was prescribed the following medication:
- Epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector (EpiPen).
- Beclometasone "preventer" inhaler.
- Salamol "reliever" inhaler.
- Antihistamine medicine.
We were given three junior EpiPens and two of everything else. One of our first tasks when D came home from hospital was to decide (1) where to keep his emergency medication and (2) what to keep it in.
We now keep one set of emergency medicine in the kitchen and a duplicate set in the changing bag (which, in our current circumstances with a baby and toddler, I have with me at all times when we are out and about). With each set of emergency meds is a copy of D's emergency plan, provided by the hospital. The plan:
- Lists his prescribed medication.
- Details the symptoms of both a mild to moderate allergic reaction and a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), with the steps to take in each case.
How many EpiPens should you carry?
We have been prescribed three EpiPens. Doctors advise always having two EpiPens to hand (see section 7 (Nut allergy) on this Portland Blog post). So we keep two EpiPens in the changing bag and one in the kitchen. The logic being that, when we are in the house, the changing bag will be in the house too, so we will have access to the "house" EpiPen, plus the further two "out and about" EpiPens in the changing bag.
Collection of expired EpiPens
The allergy nurse at the hospital advised us that, if we didn't have an in-date EpiPen to hand, then we should use an EpiPen which has passed its expiry date, as there is a chance it may still work. I wasn't sure how far past its expiry date an EpiPen has to be, to be totally useless. I have therefore taken to hoarding the expired pens, just in case D ever has an anaphylactic reaction and for some reason there is a problem with all three of our in-date EpiPens. I appreciate that's probably a little paranoid.
An article on the Anaphylaxis Campaign website this week, stated that:
"if an out-of-date injector is the only one available, consider using it unless the adrenaline has discoloured (you can see through the “windows” in the devices)".
So, I guess I need to go through the box and arrange to dispose of the EpiPens containing discoloured adrenaline, before my stockpile gets too out of hand...
Until lately, our "at home" kit was hanging on a peg in the original carrier bag from the hospital pharmacy. The "out and about" kit is stashed in a pocket of the changing bag.
I recently decided to get more organised. For our "at home" kit, I bought the neoprene "EpiPen Plus Pouch" from Always Read The Label. This is like a pencil case made from wetsuit material, in which we keep an EpiPen, a reliever inhaler, bottle of antihistamine medicine and medicine spoon (see photo). For home use, we have a Volumatic spacer device, which is kept separately in its box.
I have been shopping around for a holder or bag for our "out and about" kit. This needs to contain two EpiPens, an inhaler, an aerochamber device (with mask) and bottle of antihistamine medicine with spoon. I have decided to go for the Large Medpac, which is bright orange and measuring 20cm x 12cm x 9cm looks large enough to hold both the medication and the spacer device.
I thought I would share the following websites I have come across, which might also be worth a look:
- Activeaide - sell pouches (for one or two EpiPens), waist bags, sports pouch and Bushmates holders for children.
- Allergy Lifestyle - adrenaline auto-injector products include a waist bag, sports pouch and medicine storage box.
- Allergypack - sell a variety of EpiPen holders, including the "Chamber Pac Plus" which holds an aerochamber, asthma inhaler and an EpiPen. (US site, so would need to check whether they ship to the UK - but also stocked by Anaphylactic.co.uk, see below)
- Anaphylactic.co.uk - sell a selection of EpiPen cases, pouches and holders made by Anatote, Yellow Cross, Medipouch, KozyEpi and Allergypack.
- Epi-Essentials - for EpiPen handbags and accessories cases. (US site which ships to the UK.)
- Epipuppy - Chocolate labrador puppy waist bag (US site which ships to the UK.)
- Omax Care Waistbuddy - holds two auto-injectors, clips onto waistband without the need for belt loops.
- RescueShot Case - EpiPen carriers designed for people on the go. Available in the UK from Amazon. The company also manufactures "waterproof, dustproof, crushproof, dropproof" hard cases (called "ARK"), which they can ship to the UK if you contact them for details.
- Safetysack - Clear nylon standup pouch, which will hold an EpiPen, antihistamine and an inhaler. (US site which ships to the UK.)
- Yellow Cross - Wide range of bags and containers, including a "Large MiniBag" which holds two EpiPens, a small bottle of antihistamine and an inhaler.