I read a press release recently that discussed an issue I am familiar with: The EpiPen. The authors of the release, King Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with Anaphylaxis Canada, claim that only one in five allergic individuals carry an EpiPen and 40% of the population would be unable to administer an EpiPen dose if someone was having an allergic reaction. I'm surprised that that second figure isn't higher, but in the interest of my and every allergic individual's safety, I am going to go over the procedure for administering the EpiPen.
  1. Remove the EpiPen from its carrying tube. Take off the grey safety cap.
  2. Hold the EpiPen firmly in your fist, with the black tip near the patient's outer thigh.
  3. Jab the black tip of the EpiPen firmly into the patient's thigh at a 90 degree angle. Hold for 10 seconds.
  4. After 10 seconds (the EpiPen's window will show red) the injection is complete. Remove the EpiPen and massage the injection site.
  5. CALL 911.
  6. Put the used EpiPen into the storage tube. The exposed needle will be protected in the tube. Do not touch the needle.
It's very straight-forward. But there are some people who've seen too much TV and think they need to jab it into the heart or some other nonsense. This is not Pulp Fiction. There is only one good injection site, which is the thigh. The reason is there can be reduced blood-flow at the injection site and if it's injected somewhere else (say, the hand) you can get necrosis. That's latin for death of the tissue.

I know some of you out there are thinking of some funny wise-crack about this process but I urge you to stifle it and consider these instructions carefully. Knowing this could save someone's life.

The EpiPen website has a PDF with more detail.

Images courtesy of www.epipen.com

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