Anaphylaxis refers to the rapid onset of serious allergic reaction and can prove to be fatal if not treated. Perhaps, you know of a person with food allergies (such as with nuts) or have heard of a person who suffered severe complications or died due to anaphylaxis. Insect stings, foods, natural rubber latex, and medications are the four of the most common allergens or triggers. Anaphylaxis may be unavoidable because some foods may contain unreported or unknown allergy producing ingredients, many products contain latex, insects are just about anywhere, and some individuals are not aware of existing allergies. In case of a severe allergic reaction, cardiac or respiratory arrest can occur within 15 to 30 minutes. Therefore, every minute counts when responding to such emergencies. That is why emergency first aid training is really important and it can help victim to survive.
Epinephrine is considered the first aid treatment for severe allergic reaction. Epinephrine auto-injector or self-injectable intramuscular epinephrine is a drug delivery system which has become a standard emergency treatment for anaphylaxis. Individuals who are known have allergies or at high risk for developing severe allergies are often prescribed with an epinephrine auto-injector. It comes as a spring-loaded syringe that can be easily brought and used. Usually, each injector contains single dose and must be discarded after its use. However, it is recommended that individuals have at least two epinephrine auto-injectors.
Individuals who are prescribed with auto-injectors are trained at how and when to use auto-injectors. However, it is possible for these individuals to develop rapid severe, debilitating symptoms that leave them no chance to self-administer their emergency medications. Lay rescuers or first aiders can assist individuals in the administration of epinephrine in case of an allergic reaction. While the procedure is actually simple, it requires background knowledge on the anaphylaxis and the device itself. Moreover, you need to learn a few guidelines on the proper administration of this medication such as the injection site, the number of shots to be given, and how to respond in the emergency. Standard first aid can also be helpful.
Take note that the use of epinephrine auto-injectors should not substitute evaluation by a professional. Moreover, even if there is an auto-injector, you should still activate emergency medical service. An epinephrine shot can help minimize the reactions and avert possible complications.
Advanced first aid courses for professional rescuers and health care professionals include special topics and modules including the use of epinephrine auto-injectors. These training programs are perfect for lifeguards, nurses, emergency first responders, and other allied health professionals. Usually, these courses require completion of the basic first aid course. To learn more about available training schedules, visit or contact your local workplace approved chapter.