Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis
Epinephrine (ep·uh·NEPH·rin): A form of adrenaline – a hormone the human body creates naturally in response to stress. When injected, epinephrine works rapidly to constrict blood vessels, which helps increase blood pressure and keep blood flowing to vital organs. (Anaphylaxis can cause a severe and life-threatening drop in blood pressure.) It also relaxes airways to improve breathing, relieves cramping in the gastrointestinal tract, decreases swelling, and helps blocks itching and hives.
Epinephrine is the first medication that should be administered when treating anaphylaxis. Epinephrine reverses symptoms and allows time to seek additional care. Side effects from epinephrine may include rapid heart rate, jitteriness, weakness, paleness, and headache. Side effects are generally mild and go away within a few minutes.
Epinephrine is typically injected into the upper, outer thigh. Auto-injectors are designed to go through clothing, so a dose can be administered immediately. If an individual accidentally injects the device into a finger, hand, or other area of the body, seek medical treatment in an emergency room immediately. (Epinephrine constricts blood vessels – which, when administered correctly, restores blood pressure).
** You should take your epinephrine auto‑injectors everywhere you go, but they should be kept at room temperature (25°C, 77°F) until the marked expiration date, when they should be replaced. Your epinephrine auto-injector should not be refrigerated or exposed to extreme heat or light. Keep these temperature requirements in mind if you’re thinking of putting your auto‑injectors in your car’s glove compartment, for example.
Download FAACT's Poster for Epinephrine Auto-Injector Options and AAP Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan.
Visit FAACT Resources for more information.
FAACT's FIST to THIGH "SIGN"
What would you do if you needed epinephrine...but you couldn't be heard?
Do you have a "SIGN"?
There might be a time when you are too far away for someone to hear you clearly or anaphylaxis is making it difficult to speak.
Here is a "SIGN" you can use...
- Move in motion
- FIST to THIGH
- Wait a second
- Repeat again
- FIST to THIGH
Share this "SIGN" with others so they can quickly respond in an emergency.
And, please share this video to help FAACT spread the word about this potentially life-saving "SIGN"!