EpiPen Question. . .

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What is the window of time that the EpiPen can be effectively given, and what is the window of time in which wheezing or difficulty breathing begins? Do those windows overlap (I hope so)? I just found out that both my kids have severe food allergies although neither has had an episode of anaphylactic shock. But I sure would like to know in advance when to reach for the EpiPen and not just the Benadryl!

On Apr 1, 2002

The reactions can vary so much,it's hard to make that call. My allergist says, at the first sign of a reaction on the inside...give EPIPEN. If the reaction is on the outside only Hives, swelling, he says Benadryl. We have also been instructed, for any known ingestion of dairy to give EPIPEN, even before symptoms. So, it's very individual. If in doubt, give EPIPEN. If you have a good Allergist, I'd check with them.

On Apr 1, 2002

I would ask your allergist.

It is my understanding that wheezing and breathing difficulties are not always present during an anaphylactic reaction.

More than one organ system is affected (skin, respritory, gastrointestinal)at the same time.

My daughter had flushed skin, hives, sore throat, nausea, vomiting,diarrhea, and stomach pains. In that order. It took about 15 min to start and then progressed. She never seemed to have problems breathing. I did not have an epi-pen at the time.

Now, if I know she has ingested pb, I would give the epi immediately (before symtoms) because I know she will react. If I don't know if she came in contact with pb and she seems to be having a reaction, I would give the epi at the first sign of the second symptom.

On Apr 1, 2002

That's the stinky thing about this allergy - none of that can be predicted. You just have to be prepared for anything.