Quick action will help your child during a serious allergic reaction. It's smart
to occasionally review the instructions your doctor gave you and run through the steps
you would take in an emergency.
Here's a checklist for any parent of a child with a serious allergy:
If your doctor prescribed an epinephrine injector (with two devices) for emergencies,
make sure it is always with your child or with an adult who is in
charge of your child — at school, at a birthday party, on vacation. Work with
the school to decide where to store the injector and how your child can get it quickly,
Know the signs of a serious
reaction — such as trouble breathing, rash, swelling, vomiting, belly pain,
diarrhea, and wheezing — and be ready to act quickly. Follow the instructions
your doctor gave you. Teach your child and those who care for your child to do the
Practice how to use the epinephrine injector often. Are there caps to remove?
Which end rests on the skin? Where on the body is the injection site? How do you hold
the syringe and release the medicine? Ask for a demonstration at your doctor's office.
Visit the manufacturer's website to get detailed instructions. Manufacturers also
may supply a trainer syringe that is not loaded with epinephrine, so you can practice
all the steps safely. If your child is in charge of carrying the injector, make sure
he or she practices too.
If your child has a reaction and needs the epinephrine injector, give it right
away. Have someone call 911 while you are giving the injection. If you are alone,
call 911 after giving the injection or go to the nearest emergency
room as soon as possible. Your child may have a second wave of symptoms. Take
the used epinephrine syringe to the hospital with you. Remember that antihistamines
do not treat life-threatening symptoms and are not a replacement for epinephrine.
Store the epinephrine injector according to the manufacturer's directions. Note
its expiration date and get a new one before the one you have expires.