When it comes to being prepared, avoidance of allergens is critical to preventing a life‑threatening allergic reaction.
That's why people living with potentially life‑threatening allergies should have an anaphylaxis action plan in place that includes these four basic steps:
Severe allergic reactions are unpredictable—they can happen anywhere, anytime. Symptoms can even go away with treatment and come back later. Watch our video below to learn the importance of being prepared.
Importance of being prepared
Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening emergency. The best way to reduce the risk of anaphylaxis is to avoid the allergens that are personal triggers for you or your child. Still, no matter how diligent you are about avoiding them, accidents happen.
It’s important to understand that epinephrine is an essential medication for the treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions. National Food Allergy Guidelines recommend its use first. Following the administration of epinephrine, antihistamines may be used, but they do not treat the life-threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis.
EpiPen® (epinephrine injection) Auto-Injectors have been the #1 prescribed epinephrine auto-injectors for over 25 years. You’ll notice EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors come in 2-pak cartons—the two auto-injectors should never be split up.
Sometimes a reaction is so severe, it requires two doses of epinephrine. Other times, it’s possible symptoms may appear to go away, but come back minutes or even days later. And a mild allergic reaction one time can be life-threatening the next. The bottom line? Reactions are unpredictable. That’s why it’s crucial to keep two EpiPen® Auto-Injectors all the places you might need them: in your purse, at home, work, or school … anywhere life takes you. But remember, more than two sequential doses of epinephrine for a single episode should be administered only under direct medical supervision.
If you need a prescription, talk to your doctor. Make sure you’re prepared in every situation, especially since food allergy, a common cause of anaphylaxis, appears to be on the rise. Being prepared means having a plan to avoid known allergens, know what symptoms to watch out for, use an EpiPen® Auto-Injector if a life-threatening reaction occurs, and get emergency medical help right away. EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr® are intended for immediate self-administration as emergency therapy only.
While these four steps are key points to remember, you may want to write down a more detailed plan to share with others, such as teachers, coworkers, school nurses or family members. You may want to consider adding:
- A list of known allergens
- Emergency contact info
- Medications currently being taken
- Your healthcare professional's contact info
For an example, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology offers an anaphylaxis emergency action plan that you can download and complete along with your doctor. The My EpiPlan® app can help you keep track of your EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors.