Recently an Atlanta man was served the wrong dish at a restaurant. He died of anaphylactic shock, as the dish he received had shellfish in it and he was allergic.
If you have an Epi pen, as I do:
a) Check the expiration date and make sure your pen is still effective.
b) Know how to use it. Better yet, also make sure the people you spend time with know about your allergy and
know how to use the pen and where to find it. [Dear Friends & Family - Mine is in my purse. Always.]
c) Know that you MUST go to the hospital immediately after administering the shot. The Epi pen does not resolve the reaction - it buys you an extra ten to fifteen minutes to get to the ER.
And here's a shout-out to my friendly neighborhood CVS. The last time I flew - to Maryland, home of the crabcake - I had to leave my Epi pen behind because the prescription label had been on the box, which fell apart months beforehand. In times where illegally large shampoo bottles can get you held back from a flight, an unidentified pre-filled syringe would almost certainly result in never seeing your family again. When I picked up my new pen last week I told the pharmacist that I need to be able to fly with it and asked for an additional prescription label. She gladly obliged.
Guest Blogger Amy D (Registered Nurse and Advanced Cardiac Life Support instructor) says:
In addition to the Public Service Announcement, from your Friendly Neighborhood RN/ACLS Instructor: after administering the Epi pen, do NOT drive to the ER or let anyone else do so. I'm sure you think you can get there faster than the ambulance, but I bet you don't have Oxygen, Endotrachial Tubes or Defibrillation Paddles in your car. If you do, have at it. Otherwise, please call 911 and let the professionals do the transporting. Thanks, kids.