Hi! My name is Nicole, and I’m allergic to fish, crustaceans, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, peas and beans.
In honour of Food Allergy Awareness Month, I started to think about what people should be more “aware of” when it comes to allergies… Hmm. I realized that people ask me about my epinephrine auto-injector a lot!
Below are some of the common questions I am asked and my answers.
Have you ever had to use an auto-injector?
I have personally never been injected, but I have had to use an auto-injector on someone else. Have you ever used one?
Does it hurt?
I don’t know, because I have never used it, but I think that when the time comes I would welcome using it as opposed to suffering with symptoms.
(According to our Teen Panelists at the Winnipeg Conference, it doesn’t hurt!)
How do you use it?
This differs on whether you carry an EpiPen© or Twinject© auto-injector. You can visit either one of their websites for detailed instructions. You can also download instructions with an Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan from Anaphylaxis Canada’s “Resources” section.
Where do you keep it?
It depends where I am and what I am doing. Usually it is in my purse, but sometimes it is in my backpack or pocket. Where do you keep yours?
Do you always take it everywhere you go?
Yes, I take it absolutely everywhere I go! If I ever forget it, I start to feel really anxious, because I know that my safety net isn’t there. If that happens, I return home to get it!
There are two things that I really want to emphasize about epinephrine auto-injectors:
Train yourself and others on how to properly use the auto-injector that you carry. Friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, family members, teachers, coaches, tutors and other people you spend time with should know how to keep you safe in the event of an emergency. You can order free training materials from www.EpiPen.ca or www.Twinject.ca.
2) DON’T HESITATE!
If you or someone you are with show signs of an allergic reaction, don’t hesitate – use the epinephrine auto-injector! It is better to be safe than sorry, and for most people, there are few health risks associated with using it. On the other hand, if you don’t use it right away, you are at greater risk for potentially life-threatening symptoms.
So for this month, I challenge you to think about something that you want others to know about your allergies and try your best to educate them!
Stay safe and enjoy the sunshine!
Food Allergy Awareness Month, tip of the day – If you’re experiencing a severe allergic reaction, you may not be able to give yourself an epinephrine auto-injector. To prepare for that situation, show others how to to use your auto-injector – and let them practice with a training device! For more information about Food Allergy Awareness Month, visit www.whyriskit.ca.