Why you should practice with expired epi-pens

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Please take a look at this video on youtube.

I'll wait. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmBkGqAdZQQ"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmBkGqAdZQQ[/url]

This guy makes two mistakes. One is that he doesn't hold the pen in long enough. But, even worse is that he has his thumb covering the hole at the end of the epi-pen. It's a common mistake -- and it can prevent the pen from firing. If you notice, it takes a few attempts before his does inject.

I think this is an excellent lesson on why we need to practice not only with a trainer, but also with an expired epi-pen. With a trainer you might not notice making that mistake, but with the real thing you would.

*********

This link was originally posted by onedayatatime for a different reason. But, I felt it was a useful learning tool. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Sep 4, 2007

You know I have practiced with expired pens and will again. But I have thought about taking a couple of them to my pediatrician to pass on to those people he is telling about food allergies for the first time. You know they could practice and maybe not be as scared about not knowing what it is like. I don't know if the doctor would take them. Education is key for everyone. Cindy

On Sep 4, 2007

we practice with expired pens on fruit like oranges or apples. depending on what time of the year it is and what fruit is in season. i didnt relize that you shouldnt put you finger over the top. you learn something every day. thanks! erin

On Sep 4, 2007

...another reason is to actually see the needle afterwards so you aren't completely freaked out during a reaction! You can also watch to see the solution draining to know why you have to count to 10.

that's the one thing the trainer doesn't prepare you for

Adrienne

------------------ 30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

On Sep 4, 2007

Jesse and I just practiced yesterday with expired EpiPens and I'm fairly sure we had our hands over the hole on the end as well.

We hadn't done this in quite some time and each of us made a mistake. I was hesitant - even though I was putting it into a lemon. Jesse didn't hold it in long enough. He put it in, pulled it back out and then put it back in again and resumed counting.

So, we both have to do it again - but I have a lot of expired Epis.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------ There but for the Grace of God, go I.

On Sep 4, 2007

I let the teacher use an expired one every year. It helps for all of the reasons stated above...and gives them a little less anxiety.

I know when I used it on Aidan the first time I was petrified...and after using it and seeing immediately the results it eased my mind. I tell them to count to ten...and they can also gauge how hard to *stick* him. Firmly...not jabbing I emphasize over and over.

It relieves them and me. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

I also emphasize not to put your thumb because of missfiring. and to grab Aidan tightly nd hold on to him.

To expect a little blood and a little bruising. BUT THAT IT IS OK....because they just saved his life.

So for so good. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Sep 4, 2007

I didn't know that either. However, I've given it now three times (probably with my finger over the hole) and it's worked so I don't think it's particularly touchy.

Explains why you see people demo'ing the pen holding it in a fist though.

On Sep 4, 2007

(edited), you cannot reuse it even as a practise. The needle can not be put back in.

On Sep 4, 2007

I agree that the trainer does not prepare you for what actually giving the Epi is like. I practiced on an orange with an expired pen a while back. I have several expired and several now outgrown Epi Jrs at home. I offered them to the school nurse but was told that they're not allowed to use them in training anymore.

How do you dispose of your expired Epi pens? I asked the nurse at our pediatrician's office if I could give them to them for disposal and let's just say she was less than willing or helpful.

On Sep 4, 2007

Quote:

Originally posted by booandbrimom: [b]I didn't know that either. However, I've given it now three times (probably with my finger over the hole) and it's worked so I don't think it's particularly touchy.

Explains why you see people demo'ing the pen holding it in a fist though.[/b]

I think one of the other reasons for NOT holding your finger over the hole is that sometimes people hold them backwards & it can fire into your thumb.

A nurse mentioned this in a First Aid class.

Daisy

On Sep 4, 2007

Quote:

How do you dispose of your expired Epi pens? I asked the nurse at our pediatrician's office if I could give them to them for disposal and let's just say she was less than willing or helpful.[/B]

I carried the last one around for about a month. My husband gave it to me for the sharps container at work, but I kept forgetting to put it in (it's on another floor). I saw a sharps container at a rest area while we were travelling and dropped it there.

By far, the easiest thing if you remember is to bring it to the hospital and ask them to dispose of it in their sharps container.

On Sep 4, 2007

ceross, I take expired epi-pens to the pharmacy for disposal. I always tell them whether or not they've been *fired*.

On Sep 4, 2007

I preferred this one because it wasn't presented as comical:-

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OPbzTflo5Q&mode=related&search="]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OPbzTflo5Q&mode=related&search=[/url]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------ There but for the Grace of God, go I.

On Sep 4, 2007

Oh, and like Anna Marie, I take mine to my local pharmacy to dispose of.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------ There but for the Grace of God, go I.

On Sep 4, 2007

I have kept every expired epi we have ever had(offerred them to the nurse at school. but forgot to bring her some) and we have alot.

I am wondering of 8 years old is too young too have dd try it on an orange or not. She is pretty sensetive about medical interventions, and blood, etc... Dh is a fainter with blood draws and such too(though not in our lifetime together, but he has fainted after dontaing blood).

When do you have your kids try a real epiepn? On an orange, I mean.

becca

On Sep 4, 2007

The last time I took my expired pens back to chemist, we practiced with them on a big fat phone book! He wanted to show his pharmacy assistants how they worked (I don't need to know how to use them as I have had to use them for real on myself). It was amazing how far the meds actually went into the book. The were then disposed of properly (into a sharps bin).

On Sep 5, 2007

Thank you for this post and uTube videos. The first one is pretty scary not knowing what to do. I am going to pratice with my expired epi's along with my husband and 12yo son. Thank you for reminding me.

On Sep 5, 2007

I have both my kids use expired epis on oranges. My son is 7 and my daughter is 10.

------------------ mom to Ari(7) - severe nut allergies, asthma, you name it - and Maya (10), mild excema

On Sep 5, 2007

DD has practiced on a grapefruit (larger size... I figured even my klutzy kid was less likely to stick a finger that way...) starting when she was 6.

She felt VERY EMPOWERED by this experience. Not frightened. (But she's always known that her Epipens contain an injection.)

On Sep 5, 2007

Becca, my son at first freaked even using the trainer to practice -- and he completely understood the difference between it and the real one, but he still freaked. Eventually he tried it (on Elmo, on himself, but he would not try it on me).

Around his 9th birthday he finally agreed to try an expired one on a fruit. I felt he was old enought before that, but I didn't feel freaking him out was beneficial so I never really pushed for him to do it.

But, at 8, your daughter is probably old enough.

On Sep 5, 2007

becca, I can't remember when Jesse tried a trainer - "back then" another PA.com member sent one to me from America. Anyway, that would have been 2001, so 6 years ago, so he would have been 5 close to 6.

The real expired EpiPen, I do remember trying in the house 5 years ago, so Jess would have been about 7.

I'm fairly sure I have shown my daughter with a trainer (but I currently don't have one - gave it to the school) and Jesse (almost 12) and I practiced the other night with expired ones again. I did want my daughter to practice too - she is almost 10.

I think 8 is an okay age, but you, yourself, know if your child can deal with it or not.

Jesse was pleased to see that the needle coming out isn't HUGE - I think that assuaged some fears (although provoked much discussion from Mama about no matter how long the needle was you'd still use the thing because the alternative was much much worse).

Sorry, becca, has your daughter tried with a trainer before?

I counted last night for a re-run of the other day and I only have 2 - so it will probably be Jesse and Ember stabbing the lemon this time.

Oh, I think also, my your daughter's age, when she sees how really simple the EpiPen is to use (even if she may know that it will hurt and might bruise), it's another bonus, KWIM?

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------ There but for the Grace of God, go I.

On Sep 5, 2007

I did have her try a trainer before, and I asked her recently if she knew what to do with her epipen. She has started to run off to play a couple of doors down(I can see her, most of that time). But I want her and her friends to know how to use it in the event of a bizarre reaction. She knows never to take food and does not even go into any home without coming back in for her pen and for permission.

All the homes she visits must have an adult at home who I have taught(meaning if a Dad is there who I have not taught, she cannot go). The moms tend to know, being the ones around on schooldays/weekdays.

Just thinking, as she gets a bit older, it is time for her to know how and to know how to tell another person how to give her the epipen. Even though I am a shout away, time is essential.

She will be very afraid of the needle, so I am not sure that I want her to see it. But she will not be afraid to try it, if you understand! It is more what she will think after she sees the real needle and I have no way of knowing until we practice!

After seeing the thread in OT, I did alot of poking around on You Tube and those clips are scary. I think dd needs some education/re-education, as she is getting older. I am totally freaked by the ones where the guy didn't do his epi right, and then the ones with kids deliberately eating their allergens for a laugh. Chills.

becca

On Sep 5, 2007

In the recent issue of Allergic Living Magazine [url="http://www.allergicliving.com"]www.allergicliving.com[/url] there was a questionnaire by the makers of the Twinject. We don't use that, so I didn't fill out the questionnaire, but it did have some *good* questions on it - and one of them was - how often do you practice the EpiPen useage?

The first answer you could check off was 3 months. Then in increments, and of course, never.

When I saw that questionnaire, I thought, you know what? We better practice. It has been some time.

I'm glad we did because, as I posted earlier, both Jesse and I made mistakes.

I don't know how often one *should* practice.

Oh, and becca, if you got your daughter to stab whatever you're going to use, you don't have to remove the EpiPen while she's standing there (then she won't see the needle). But again, both Jesse and I were surprised by the size of the needle - it wasn't as long as we expected.

I find it's like entering a new phase of the allergy with Jesse (he'll be 12 in December) and this past summer there were a lot of first's for him and I really do think he needs to be able to show at least his friends how to administer. When we were practicing the other day, I told him that, for the most part, he would never be expected to self-administer, but, of course, if he was alone, he'd have to.

I remember one member here having to do that after having a reaction to strawberries - totally unexpected, adult onset.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------ There but for the Grace of God, go I.

On Sep 5, 2007

Linking to article abstract I just posted in Media area. Article is about doctors NOT knowing how to administer EpiPen correctly.

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum8/HTML/002127.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum8/HTML/002127.html[/url]

------------------ ~Eli[b]Z[/b]abeth, Mother to 2: DD age 5, NKA, treated as though PA/TNA DS age 8, PA, possible TNA, Latex, legumes? (PA diagnosed & ana reaction 1999) Member here since 2000

[This message has been edited by ajas_folks (edited September 05, 2007).]

On Sep 6, 2007

We have ben practicing on my daughters hard plastic doll. She LOVES this doll, so I am hoping it will help her give it to herself. The doll is an American Girl knock off. It has about five very small holes in its right thigh. I don't know if it would work on 'action figures'.

On Sep 7, 2007

You should practice/use by making a fist around the epipen--not only will that avoid covering the hole, but you won't lose your finger if anxiety or fear in a real emergency leads to accidentally holding the pen the wrong way.

Anyone who cares for my children practices with an expired epi pen and an orange. I don't want anyone's first time using it to be in a real emergency. It gives them a sense of confidence that they can do it if they have to. And after they do it, I always say..."You could have just saved someone's life." Don't mean to sound overly dramatic, but it seems to be very effective.

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