Fellow food allergy advocate Gina Mennett Lee created a “Beyond Awareness Educational Campaign” for 2015. One part of this is the focus on Do You Know Your EPI? Gina with the help of other star food-allergy bloggers, Caroline Moassessi (Grateful Foodie) & Sharon Wong (Nut Free Wok), are asking for help from other bloggers to assist in spreading the word. Here is the FACET Advocate take on it:
Food allergy diagnosis – check
Allergen avoidance – check
Epinephrine auto-injector on hand at all times - check
You are prepared for an emergency.
But are you confident about how to use an epinephrine auto-injector?
A recent study from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) shows the misuse of epinephrine auto-injectors. 102 patients with prescribed epinephrine participated in the study. Of these, 16% properly demonstrated how to use the epinephrine auto-injector. That means the remaining 84% did not know how to use the device correctly. 84%!!!
You cannot save your own life or the life of someone you care for during an anaphylactic reaction if you do not know how to properly use an epinephrine auto-injector. I cannot stress this point enough. An auto-injector is useless unless you know how to use it.
Most cases of anaphylaxis that result in death are due to delayed epinephrine administration or not using epinephrine at all.
An anaphylactic reaction is going to be terrifying and emotional.
Your hands may shake.
You may fumble while finding the auto-injector.
You may second-guess if you truly need to use it.
Your heart will be racing.
You may have to restrain the child before administering.
You may panic.
Despite all of this, you MUST be able to properly administer the epinephrine. A life will depend on it.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
It’s important to know that there are multiple brands of auto-injectors on the market. All manufacturers of epinephrine auto-injectors have videos on their website demonstrating how to use their product. Be sure you are familiar with the brand that you will need to use in case of anaphylaxis.
In addition to knowing how to use it, you have to know when to use it. When to use epinephrine should be specifically documented in an Emergency Care Plan by your allergist. In my opinion, an Emergency Care Plan is the single most important piece of paper a person with food allergies should have. If you do not have a care plan, work with your allergist to create one specific to your/your child’s unique diagnosis.
While we’re talking about auto-injectors, a few items to know:
Successful treatment of anaphylaxis depends on 3 things:
Are you confident? If not, now is the time to speak up.
by Amanda Painter, South Chapter Coordinator
My family has taken many road trips over the past several years. After lots of frustration, forgotten items and many trips to multiple grocery stores, we feel that we have finally mastered road trips. Here are my tips to share with you:
My first tip is one that I tend to give with everything – plan ahead.
Where to eat: Dining out
2. Pack a box of food yourself and ship it to your destination before you leave.
On the road:
Sponge/brush to wash dishes
Paper towels for drying
Travel kitchen knife & small cutting board
Disposable forks, spoons & knives
Traveling with extended family/friends? Education is needed for those that normally don’t live with you. Understanding of the severity of food allergies and avoiding cross contact is necessary.
Contain allergens to certain shelves in the refrigerator or pantry.
My last tip is don’t stress too much on making sure your/your child’s diet is as healthy as usual. As long as it’s safe (allergen free) and you/your child are getting enough to eat with some minimal nutritional requirements met, it’s ok if you/your child aren’t getting the exact number of fruits and veggies that they normally do each day. Remember, it is a vacation; splurging a bit is ok!
Don’t let food allergies hold you back. Remember you are LIVING with food allergies. Go. Travel. Experience. See the world! Just be sure to take your epinephrine with you!
Traveling by plane isn’t something my family has done yet. Flying can be stressful for those with food allergies; especially peanut allergies. Here are some excellent resources if you are considering flying:
FAACT’s Traveling with Food Allergies (also including tips for traveling to foreign countries)
Airline food allergy policies
Allergic Living – Comparing Airlines
by Amanda Painter, South Chapter Coordinator
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