Auto-Injector Effectiveness Tip: Practice Makes Perfect

Here’s a tip that might someday save your life, or that of a loved one: two to four times a year, review the proper way to use your epinephrine auto-injector. This review should include yourself, and anyone around you (family, friends, colleagues) who may need to administer emergency epinephrine.

Plan the review around recurring calendar dates such as the winter and summer solstice, and the spring and fall equinox. Or, do it the first of each year and on July fourth. You might schedule the refresh sessions on family member’s birthdays or anniversaries—whatever helps remind you.

Why Practice Is Vital

The reason for regular auto-injector instruction is twofold:

First, an onset of anaphylaxis is not the time to be racking your brain for proper auto-injector protocol. Emergencies often scatter our thoughts. The more automatic your actions, the better.

Second, a recent study found that most people having auto-injectors use them incorrectly. Out of 102 study participants, only 16 percent demonstrated proper protocol. Most made one or several mistakes that, in a real emergency, would prevent them from getting the life-saving benefits of ephinephrine.

The most common user errors were:

  • Not holding the injector in place for at least ten seconds after releasing the trigger (most frequent error).
  • Not depressing the trigger with enough force to activate the injection.
  • Failing to place the needle end of the injector on the thigh.

The researchers found that correct auto-injector use was not related to a specific clinic affiliation, patient education level, or whether other family members had used a similar instrument.

Ounce of Preparation

“Our study suggests that either people weren’t properly trained in how to use these devices, didn’t completely understand the instructions even after training, or forgot the instructions over time,” said allergist and lead researcher Rana Bonds, MD, ACAAI Fellow.

Whatever the reason for ineffective auto-injector use, one remedy is a regular review and practice of proper technique. Memory refreshment is the only way to become aware of things forgotten or mis-remembered. To put a spin on Ben Franklin’s famous quote: “An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.”

Source: Food Allergy
Photo: Pixabay

More Articles

For people who suffer from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can result from an allergy to...

Anaphylactic shock (A-nuh-fih-LAK-tik shok): A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been...

In 1963 the American Medical Association designed a special symbol that would alert emergency medical personnel of special medical conditions when...

Finding allergy-free foods for an office potluck may seem impossible, but more options are available than you might think. Eating foods prepared...

One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is determine whether his or her toddler has a cold or a...

More Articles

More Articles

You no doubt have your own way of teaching people about your child’s food allergy, a way that suits your temperament, and style of communication....

Reliable peanut allergy statistics are not that easy to come by. There is a lot of available research on food allergies in general but not too...

Most people know that to enjoy whatever food safety accommodations an airline offers they need to inform the airline of their allergy prior to...

A 504 plan* documents food allergy accommodations agreed to by parents and their child’s school. Plans are typically created during a 504 meeting...

If there is a child at your children's school allergic to peanuts, the school probably discourages or may not allow peanut products to be brought...

If you are on a budget, but you need to wear some sort of notification that you have a peanut...

Unless we consciously carve out time for self-care, constant food allergy management can slowly erode our sense of well-being. Signs of allergy-...

Peanuts cause more severe food allergic reactions than other foods, followed by shellfish, fish, tree nuts and eggs. Although there is only a...

If you avoid peanuts, it’s likely you know the joy of cashews. Slightly sweet and smooth in texture, cashews provide not only relief to those with...

The prevalence of food allergy has dramatically increased over the past two to three decades, and not just among children. Preliminary results...

When someone in the family is diagnosed with a food allergy, a choice must be made whether to ban the problem food or foods from the home. The...

Looking for a fun way to share what you know about your own food allergies? Or are you hoping to educate the people around you in a fun way about...

According to the results of a new study, children lacking Vitamin D may be more susceptible to food allergies. Researchers working at the Albert...

If you or your child has a peanut or nut allergy, identifying the presence of nuts in food becomes a priority, but what if the written or spoken...

Soap allergies can cause a lot of discomfort and itching. If you suddenly develop a rash or bumps on your skin, you may suspect that you have an...