How to: Use an EpiPen

You have probably heard of an epinephrine pen by its non-technical name known as adrenaline. We all know adrenaline as the feeling when riding a roller coaster or giving a presentation. You can feel your heart beat a little faster than usual and breathing increase. This is adrenaline at work, a substance which the human body naturally releases when in stress. The medicine inside an Epinephrine pen is the synthetic version of adrenaline.

Difference between Epinephrine Pen and Adrenaline

There is almost no major/significant difference between an epinephrine pen and adrenaline. They are almost identical. In fact, in Europe, the term “adrenaline” is more common and widely used when compared to United States where the term “epinephrine” is more commonly used.

Working with epinephrine during a life-threatening situation

During life-threatening situations such as anaphylaxis (sever allergic reactions), epinephrine constricts blood vessels to increase blood pressure, relaxes/smooths muscles in the lungs in order to improve breathing and reduce wheezing. It also stimulates the heart and works to reduce hives and swelling which may have occurred around the lips and face. As stated by national food allergy guidelines, epinephrine is the only recommended first-line treatment for anaphylaxis.

Indication for epinephrine

An epinephrine auto-injector is a shot or an emergency injection of epinephrine. It is a device most commonly and often used for life-threatening allergic reactions such as breathing problems, severe swelling, or loss of blood pressure. The most common auto-injector is called the EpiPen. Allergic reactions can be caused by stinging and biting of insects, medicinal allergies, food, toxins, and other unknown substances.

Once someone comes in contact with one of the above substances and begins to present with signs of swelling around the face and mouth, difficulty breathing, and/or other adverse reactions, an EpiPen should be used. If you have not received training through a First Aid class, the EpiPen should have instructions with illustrations on the side of the pen.

Epi Pen Practice

To get training on using an Epi Pen you can enroll in a First Aid class. You can view our list of Upcoming Classes here. Vitali offers a wide range of classes including CPR, First Aid, ACLS and more! Experience the difference and learn from highly experienced medical providers. We make it easy every step of the way.

Learn More: Epi Pen Trainers and Practice

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