Epi-Pen Self Injection

Posted on: Fri, 03/26/1999 - 10:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

One question I have been pondering is at what age is a child old enough to give themselves their own epi-pen injection if needed?

Posted on: Sat, 03/27/1999 - 12:22am
Coco's picture
Joined: 03/14/1999 - 09:00

This is an interesting question. I have been told by anaphylactic adults (two of them) that they have self injected and withdrawn the epi-pen too soon. They both strongly recommended that somebody other than the allergic child should administer this medication. I think this situation is unique(in comparison say to a diabetic child using his/her own needle) as a child requiring an epi-pen is already in a life-threatening state. Also unique as it is a very rare occasion (we hope) when this injection is administered. I also think, however, that every child should be equipped with the the knowledge of how to self-administer this medication as soon as they are responsible for carrying it on their person. There is usually a situation at this stage where the child is alone occassionally and this is very important.

Posted on: Mon, 03/29/1999 - 2:14pm
Noreen's picture
Joined: 01/24/1999 - 09:00

This will be an entirely hypothetical answer since my son is only four, but I plan to teach him how to use an Epi-Pen (the trainor) when he is eight years old. I will have him inject an apple with an Epi-Pen quarterly for the first two years and then have him practice twice a year until his tenth birthday. Afterward, I'll have him practice once a year until he leaves our home.
Perhaps this is over-kill but the trainor can act as a reminder of the seriousness of his allergy and will help to perfect his skill in administering his own shot if he ever needs to do so.

Posted on: Mon, 04/05/1999 - 1:30pm
Noreen's picture
Joined: 01/24/1999 - 09:00

I had another thought about Epi-Pen self-injection. As Coco said earlier, one of the biggest mistakes is withdrawing the injector out too soon. So I think part of the practice of Epi-Pen training is to have the child count slowly: 1-1000, 2-1000, all the way to seven each time a trainor is used.

Posted on: Mon, 04/05/1999 - 2:12pm
Lynda's picture
Joined: 03/08/1999 - 09:00

Noreen: I agree with you. I have my family members practice with the trainer in case my 16 month old has a reaction when in their care. Since the video "It only takes one bite" says to hold it in for 15 seconds, I have them count to 15 at a slow steady pace. No one has ever advised me of this, so I am very glad I bought and viewed this video from FAN. [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 04/05/1999 - 11:07pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I have got to get the video "It only takes one bite." That is good advice on the counting. My husband had administered my son's epi pen and withdrew it before the 10 seconds were up and we went into panic mode. Luckily, my son was okay but we really need to practice more on administering it!
Thanks for the advice.
[This message has been edited by Connie (edited April 06, 1999).]

Posted on: Tue, 04/06/1999 - 11:53am
terry's picture
Joined: 01/16/1999 - 09:00

Our 9 year old daughter, like most children & many adults, is terrified of needles. Some of this maybe due to the multiple blood samplings & needle sticks she has had to endure. We always encourage our kids to use the buddy system when using a restroom, etc. At some age an individual should be able to self-inject after a rxn., but as your blood pressure drops, you have that feeling of impending doom & your airway constricts, I believe it is an unrealistic expectation that a child can make the diagnosis & then treat themselves. Hell, most states don't allow EMT's to do this. Our daughter has practiced with the epi-pen trainer & her younger sister has as well. One day about a year ago our daughter got an accidental view of an expired epi-pen needle & went ballistic at the sight of it. She does carry two epi-pens with her at all times, but we always insist that a responsible adult at school or friends house would have to do the injection. If a diabetic's sugar becomes too high of low they need the help of someone else to administer sugar or insulin as confusion may ensue. If someone goes into ventricular fibrillation, another life threatening event like anaphylaxis, we as a society don't expect these people to defibrilate themselves. These children will need help after exposure as this is a medical emergency. Several "bad outcomes" have resulted from individuals feeling sick after exposure to peanuts, going to the restroom by themselves & collapsing.

Posted on: Wed, 04/07/1999 - 12:33pm
Anne P's picture
Joined: 03/30/1999 - 09:00

Connie and gang, I have self-inejected only once and did it right because I was so afraid and my throat was closing rapidly. Otherwise, I've always had someone close by to do it. I've never had the problem of not keeping the epipen in long enough, but of the person adminstering the shot not stabbing my outer thigh hard enough to trigger the spring mechanism of the needle. They did it too gingerly, which can waste precious time. As for pain, it is surprisingly not that painful, despite the needle size (which, I agree with the needle-shy children, is horrifying to look at). Good new is that the stab feels like a quick prick, and then you don't feel anything while the needle is in you. The skin area seems to go numb. I know this might not help a child, but at least you parents can know that it is not as painful as it appears it would be! good luck.

Posted on: Wed, 04/07/1999 - 11:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Hi all,
I thank everyone for their response to this question. I think as a parent you try to venture every avenue to keep your child safe and this, for me, included self injection IF it was warranted.
I think this kind of thinking went back to my high school days of first learning to drive a car. My father always said, "anybody can put the car in "D" and go on an automatic. You will learn to drive a 5-speed because if you are ever in a situation that you need to exit immediately and you can't drive a stick shift, you're stuck and you have to be prepared for anything." This was my thinking on the Epi Pen. If and when my son (when he is older) needs to have the epi-pen injected and there is no one around, it just might be him saving his own life and I just want him prepared in all ways possible.
Thanks again for ALL the responses!

Posted on: Sun, 08/15/1999 - 11:26pm
James's picture
Joined: 08/11/1999 - 09:00

I think your training idea is fantastic. Your son will be so experienced, so calm, and so in control after all that practice that when he has a reaction everything will go smoothly.
In the military, rifle safety and operating proceedure is dealt with in much the same way. The purpose in this case, much like with your son, is to know everything backwards, so when the $%&# hits the fan, you know you are 100% prepared, completely in control of the situation.
Remember that anaphylaxis also involves shock - hence anaphylactic shock. Shock is not only a physically induced condition, it is also brought on mentally through fear, anxiety, panic, etc. With no confidence, lack of experience, and no relationship with the rifle or the epipen, the soldier/PA casualty is as good as dead.
Prior planning, preparation and practice is the best way to counter this. Your son will feel great having had all the practice (although it might be a drag having mom or the drill sergeant forcing it on him at the time), and will probably be so calm during a reaction that medical people will not believe he is so close to death! (Trust me on this one - being calm is great for the patient, but it has never helped me to explain to medical people that I can barely breathe and am having a severe reaction! Sometimes I wish I could have hyped it up for the medical people, but there is a risk of them not believing the severity there too!)
Keep up the good work!

Posted on: Mon, 08/16/1999 - 12:09am
Anna's picture
Joined: 07/20/1999 - 09:00

I've also had to self-inject. Three years ago, I ate chocolate tea biscuits (which I had eaten before with no difficulty), and within a few minutes, my throat began to tighten.
I had no problem with removing the Epi-pen too soon -- I held it against my outer thigh for a while to be sure it had activated. I'd never been told about the 15 second guideline.
I also found that it didn't hurt much -- certainly no more than the discomfort of the reaction itself. By the time the paramedics arrived, I was a bit better, albeit shaky due to the epinephrine working its lifesaving magic. [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
In response to Connie's question, my sense is that a child is old enough to self-inject when they are able to thoroughly understand the prodedure and are strong enough to have the epi-pen activate when it's jabbed into the outer thigh.


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