For people living with severe allergies, those that can be potentially fatal from anaphylaxis, an EpiPen is a life-saving device.
Now there is a new, more user-friendly EpiPen to ensure anyone in distress will be able to use it quickly to receive that shot of epinephrine to quell the reaction.
One to two per cent of Canadians have an allergy so severe that anaphylaxis will occur when they are exposed to the allergen they are sensitive to. Common symptoms are swelling of the eyes, and throat, lips and tongue, which make breathing extremely difficult. Nuts, shellfish, eggs and insect bites are the most common allergens culprits.
The new EpiPen, which automatically injects epinephrine into your system, performs the same function as the older version but its casing has been improved. There is a built-in needle protector to cut-down on accidental pricks, as well as an easy grip body and clear instructions.
This easy-to-use EpiPen is especially important for children, who in an emergency situation need someone to help them administer the injection or do it themselves under duress.
Richard Mototsune of Toronto knows the stress of dealing with severe allergies because his eight-year-old son Mark has a number of life-threatening allergies. Mark was diagnosed with his first allergy at just nine months old.
“He had an anaphylactic reaction,” says Mototsune. “After testing, they said he needs an EpiPen.”
Mark wears his EpiPen at all times on his belt, his parents both carry them, and his school has a few on hand, just in case. In many school offices, there are EpiPens available with a picture of the child next to it who has the life-threatening allergy, so that the shot can be administered by staff while an ambulance is being called. The new EpiPen will make it easier for any adult present to use it, even if they aren’t familiar with injectors.
Mototsune says his son knows there are certain foods he can’t eat, such as green peas, eggs, sesame and peanuts. He says through careful planning and always having his own food, Mark is able to participate in parties and visits with friends.
“He’s a pretty easy-going kid,” says Mototsune. “If he’s not able to eat something he’s usually okay.”
Although Mark knows how to use the EpiPen on himself (thanks to a training model) Mototsune hopes he will never be in a situation where he has to.