What essential kit do you carry around with you each day, to:
- Ensure that you are prepared for an anaphylaxis emergency; and
- Minimise the chances of your child having an allergic reaction in the first place?
I thought it might be helpful to share the contents of my “essential allergy kit” (see photograph). Here’s what I carry around each day, and why:
EpiPen Jr x2
Following his anaphylactic reaction to a peanut cookie, my son D was prescribed three adrenaline auto-injectors. We were initially prescribed EpiPen Jr. Our hospital have now switched to presecribing Jext pens. So we currently have two EpiPen Jrs and one Jext pen. Both contain the same dose of emergency adrenaline, appropriate for D’s weight (150 micrograms). The pens have slightly different administration techniques, so to minimise confusion in an emergency, we keep the Jext pen at home and the two EpiPens with the “out and about” emergency medicine kit that we take everywhere.
Both EpiPen and Jext have excellent websites, with videos showing how to administer the injection. See:
We carry TWO EpiPens, as D’s emergency action plan states:
“If he still has difficulty breathing or is very faint 5 minutes after the first dose of Jext pen [or EpiPen] and the ambulance has not yet arrived then if available a second dose should be given in the opposite leg”.
It is also reassuring to have a backup EpiPen, in case there is a problem when trying to use the first pen.
Blue asthma “reliever” inhalers x2
As D has asthma, his personal anaphylaxis action plan states that, after being given the EpiPen, he should be given up to ten puffs of his blue inhaler. I carry a spare, just in case the first blue inhaler decides to run out just when it’s needed.
Given he’s only three years old, we give D his asthma inhalers via a spacer advice. We have a Volumatic spacer device at home. However, that’s quite bulky to carry around (and seems like it might crack if squashed), so we use an AeroChamber Plus when we’re out and about.
Our emergency medicine kit includes a bottle of Loratadine (D’s prescribed anti-histamine), for use if – as stated in his personal anaphylaxis action plan – he shows symptoms of a mild allergic reaction (or to be given after the EpiPen and inhaler, if he suffers anaphylaxis).
Medicine spoons and medicine dropper
I carry both spoons and a dropper. However, I personally think the dropper would be easier to use in an anaphylaxis emergency.
Emergency action plan & “To whom it may concern” letter
Both of these were provided by the hospital. The emergency action plan sets out the symptoms of a “mild to moderate allergic reaction” and “anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction)” and details the steps to take in each case. It also includes diagrams showing how to administer the adrenaline auto-injector.
The “To whom it may concern” letter lists the emergency medication D has been prescribed. The paramedics referred to this when D had an anaphylactic reaction back in May.
Before having children (and certainly before entering the world of food allergies), I was sometimes guilty of zooming out of the house without my mobile (or with a mobile on the brink of running out of power). In fact, it was only when I was eight months pregnant with D that I was persuaded to finally make the switch from a pay-as-you-go brick to an iPhone on a monthly contract…
Nowadays, the thought of needing to call an ambulance and not having my mobile to hand makes me go cold. So a charged phone is part of our emergency kit.
Sounds daft, but I can’t read food labels without them!
Safe snacks and a drink
Wipes – Dettol, Milton and Johnsons
For me, it tends to be:
- Dettol wipes for large surfaces (cafe tables etc).
- Milton wipes for things he might pick up or touch (so grubby looking toys, sticky hand rails and, since this week, playgroup musical instruments!).
- Johnsons wipes for hands and faces.
I can’t pretend that’s a scientific approach, just the habit I have fallen into!
An empty carrier bag
Useful if there’s a reaction and you need to bag up the suspected food item.
For if there’s a flare up when we’re out and about. It’s also the thing I missed when we found ourselves at hospital after D’s second reaction. We were prescribed another tube on the ward, but it would have been handier simply to have had the supplies ready in my bag.
… And finally a bag to keep it all in
As you will see from the above photo, I keep our emergency medical kit (EpiPens, inhalers, spacer, anti-histamine, spoons, dropper, hospital paperwork) in a large MedPac. We bought ours from www.medpac.co.uk and I see they’ve since brought out an insulated version too. For details of other websites selling EpiPen cases, pouches and holders, see EpiPen accessories.
Do you carry anything else in your “essential allergy kit”? Do let me know if there’s anything you think I’ve missed!