Children’s Services, Colchester Hospital, Turner Road, Colchester, CO4 5JL
Children’s Asthma Allergy Nurse Specialist
Tel: 01206 742125
Email: [email protected]
What do I need to know?
Your child has been prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector, (EpiPen, Jext or Emerade) as he or she may be at risk of having a severe allergic (anaphylaxis) reaction. Adrenaline is recommended as the first line treatment for an anaphylactic reaction as it quickly reverses the symptoms.
The adrenaline auto-injector is an injection that is given in the muscle of the thigh. Adrenaline constricts the blood vessels, which reverses the swelling, helping to alleviate symptoms in the airways and the skin, stimulates the heart beat and raises the blood pressure. Once the adrenaline is given your child may feel a little shaky, feel anxious or have a headache.
Please ensure you have received the correct ‘brand’ training for the device your child has been prescribed, as all the devices are slightly different.
The MHRA recommends that every child should have two adrenaline auto-injectors immediately available. Children attending either pre-school or junior school should ideally have two adrenaline auto-injectors to leave at pre-school or school and two to go with them elsewhere, such as home, to grandparents etc. It is important that you and your family know how and when to use the auto-injector and how to care for the device. Each auto-injector can only be used once.
Use the management plan provided to guide you to decide if vour child is having a mild to moderate reaction or an anaphylaxis. If it is a mild to moderate reaction, give the antihistamine as stated and watch for signs of a more severe reaction.
If your child starts to have the more severe signs, give the adrenaline auto-injector as you have been shown and telephone 999 for an ambulance. Give the used adrenaline auto-injector to the paramedics on their arrival or take it with you to the emergency department.
- Keep the auto-injector in the hard plastic case it comes in.
- Store it out of direct sunlight.
- Do not freeze and do not put it in the fridge or freezer.
- Do not store it above 25°C.
- Do not leave it in a hot car.
- When exposed to extremes of temperature the adrenaline will deteriorate.
- Check the ‘window’ on the auto-injector to make sure the adrenaline is clear in colour and has no bits floating in it.
- Adrenaline will turn a brown or pink colour if it has deteriorated.
- Check the expiry date regularly, at the start of every term and before you go away on holiday. The adrenaline may not be as effective after that date.
Re-order your child’s auto-injectors from your GP in plenty of time. When the adrenaline auto-injectors are out of date it is important to dispose of them safely. Please return them to your GP surgery or your local hospital.
Register your child’s auto-injector on the relevant website and they will send you an email or SMS message when it is due to expire.
Request your own training device. These practice devices look like the real thing, except that they do not have a needle or contain any medication. You will be able to practice with the trainer device and show other people how to use it.
You can request one from the website for your device:
You will find a video on the website showing you how to use your device.
Strict avoidance of the substance you are allergic to will help to prevent allergic reactions.