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As someone who’s had serious allergies for a long time, I’ve always wondered when I might have to use my Epipen. I’ve also wondered what happens if you use an Epipen without needing it.
First of all, the thought of using an Epipen is scary enough. I’ve carried it around for years, just in case something were to happen.
I’ve also practiced using the Epipen in the doctor’s office (the trainer). It’s not pleasant to think about.
But what if you think you need it and you really don’t. What if you make a strange mistake and accidently use the Epipen without needing it. You might think “that would never happen”, but it happens all the time and some people use their Epi a lot!
Thus far I’ve been lucky. I haven’t had to use mine, however, I still carry around the expensive auto-injector. Once a year I’ll get my new Epipen and practice with the trainer.
In this article, I’ll share what to do if you’ve used an Epipen without needing it. Hopefully, you can remain calm, notify people in the immediate vicinity, and seek medical advice quickly.
Why You Might Use An Epipen Without Needing It
There are a few situations that come to mind when answering this question. I’m sure there are many more hypothetical situations but these are the few I could come up with.
Mistake the real Epipen for trainer
I’ve mixed up my Epipen and trainer before but I’ve always figured out which is which. Even though they are labeled I still get worried and have to look closely.
My allergist has plenty of trainers laying around the office and they use a permanent marker to write “trainer” on practice injectors. I’ve followed suit and do the same when I receive a new Epipen.
Kids might play with it
Kids are observant. Maybe they’ve watched you practice using your Epi or maybe they’ve seen the picture instructions on the box.
Understandably, epinephrine will have a great effect on a small child than a grown adult and this can be scary.
You might misinterpret your symptoms
I’ve broken out in hives a few times and I’ve wondered if I needed to use my Epipen. I decided against it.
When it comes to allergies everyone experiences different types of symptoms and I’ve rarely had respiratory symptoms that affected my breathing.
If I did have trouble breathing, felt my mouth/throat swelling, or felt an abnormal amount of warmness due to allergy exposure I’d absolutely use my Epipen but sometimes it’s hard to gauge how serious the symptoms are.
What Will Happen If You Use The Epipen and Don’t Need It
Most people understand that an Epipen contains epinephrine. Epinephrine is adrenaline and a naturally occurring hormone in the body. Once injected epinephrine will:
- Enhance your breathing, quicken your heart, and raise blood pressure. It will also reduce swelling of the face and respiratory system.
- You’ll feel a rush of energy
- You might feel anxious
- Your blood pressure will rise. This is important to know if you normally have high blood pressure
- You might be talkative
What You Should Do As Soon As You Accidentally Use It
#1 Dose matters
Is it .15 or .3mg? .3 is more urgent.
#2 Injection location matters
According to instructions, you should inject yourself in the upper thigh, however, mistakes are made.
Your injection can be a reason for concern if injected in the hands, feet, or digits.
#2 Alert Whoever Is Nearby (family or friends)
If you’re at home, a friends house, or at a party, make sure you tell someone that you’ve injected yourself with an Epipen.
It’s always better for someone to help monitor your behavior and call for help if needed.
#3 Seek Medical Care (Call your allergist or family doctor)
Call first to speak to a nurse or doctor then take their advice on whether you need to visit the medical office. Some doctors may want to see you to ensure you’re alright.
Keep The Trainer In The Same Place As the Epipen: But In A Safe Spot
If your Epipen was used by you or a family member on accident make sure it’s stored in the correct place. Here are a few tips I recommend based on the storage instructions.
- Cupboard/First Aid Kit Away From Children And Pets
- In A Convenient Area Of The House
- Away From Sun (in the dark) But Not Refrigerated
The thought of using an Epipen can be disconcerting however if you have a horrible allergic reaction you might be more than happy to use it!
I’ve battled environmental allergies for years and I always carry an Epipen with me. Thankfully I haven’t had to use it – I’ve practiced a lot though.
Whenever I practice using my Epipen I make sure I’m using the correct injector. But mistakes happen and you should be prepared.
If you or someone in your family injects an Epipen without needing it, make sure you understand how it will make you feel and the potential adverse effects.
- You’ll feel a rush of adrenalin
- You’ll blood pressure will increase
- You might feel antsy for a few hours afterward
- You might feel talkative
Make sure you alert someone around you. If you alone call your local doctors office or allergist – it’s never a bad idea to let them know the mistake.
At Dust Mite Solutions we try to answer the most important questions you have about allergies. Epipens are a key part of having allergies and they are used at our most vulnerable times.
I hope you don’t have to use an Epipen and I hope you never use an Epipen without needing it. But if you do this article can help make sure you know what to do. Thanks for reading!