Michael Marcus, MD , talks about Epipen and food allergies
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Male Speaker: Lot of kids seemed to have allergies to peanuts and some other kind of foods and they carry around this thing called an EpiPen. Can you say something about this why some kids will carry it? Dr. Marcus: All the years we have seen that there are some patients when they are exposed to certain foods, peanuts being one of the most notorious can have very severe allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis. If you are allergic to a food like peanuts and anaphylaxis occurs it can be a life-threatening condition. The symptoms of anaphylaxis would include hives, reading difficulty, swelling of the throat, and perhaps feeling faint and having an abnormal heart rhythm or blood pressure. These types of symptoms are truly emergencies and need immediate medical attention. An EpiPen is a device which carries adrenaline, it’s a device that looks like a pen and will automatically inject the adrenaline into the skin once this pen-like device is placed against the skin with only a smaller amount of pressure. The advantage of the adrenaline given in this fashion is that it allows the medication to enter into the body very rapidly reversing these life-threatening symptoms I have just described. So, if anaphylaxis is a risk immune because of your severe allergy to these foods than having an EpiPen on your purse at all times it will allow you to administer this emergency medication and prevent a life-threatening event from occurring. The thing to remember always is that the medicine that you are giving, I mean EpiPen, is very short-lived. It lasts only about 20 minutes in your body, after that it is gone and so the medicine buys you time. Once you are using EpiPen, you need to seek immediate medical attention said if as the drug wears off symptoms start to comeback. You have a physician available who can continue the treatment in the proper fashion. Male Speaker: Sometimes it well vice physician have two EpiPens because if they don’t get you and if the kid’s symptoms are persisting sometimes they even get the second dose of that. Dr. Marcus: We generally have a patient have two EpiPens available, 20 minutes is not a very long time and if its and symptoms as I said can recur once the first adrenaline shot wears off. So having two EpiPens available is an excellent precaution said if you are not yet in medical attention, we have a backup dose so that you can prevent that serious event from returning. Male Speaker: If the kid has some difficulty in swallowing as his history, if you called the parent not to be afraid and give it and delay might be life-threatening? Dr. Marcus: Absolutely, one of the most common problems we have is that even when we have identified the child is being at risk and even when we have prescribed the EpiPen to the parent, the parent when the time comes is too nervous or scared to actually to give the medication. There is very little if any downside risk for giving a dose of adrenaline to your patient. If side effects, tremor, nauseousness, heartbeat will go little faster remember I said it wears off within 20 minutes, so if you have a child that’s having a severe allergic reaction and there is any question in your mind it’s always better to give the dose of medication, call your ambulance or go to medical attention immediately and then follow through in that fashion. Male Speaker: The storage of this supporting to, you don’t keep it for years, so you’ll be careful store with. Dr. Marcus: As with any medication, an EpiPen has an expiration date. Never hold an EpiPen beyond the expiration date, always get a new one once the expiration date comes. There are also very clear-cut descriptions of the temperature range which will store the EpiPen, you need to avoid extremes of temperature by all means and it is clearly written on the device. For example, you never want to let an EpiPen sit in your car on a hot summer day, the medication will no longer work once it’s being sitting in that type of temperature for any length
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