What is an EpiPen and how does it work?

What is an EpiPen and how does it work?

The EpiPen has become one of the most well-known treatments for severe allergic reactions. It is a drug that counters the allergic effects of consuming the wrong food, suffering from insect bites or stings, and even bad reactions to medication. Understanding how the EpiPen works, why it is so valuable, and obtaining an EpiPen coupon just in case you need assistance is the right thing to do.

Over the past several years, the EpiPen has taken on an even greater popularity because of its ease of use and fast, effective medication called epinephrine that has saved lives. For those who have used it or seen it in action, the EpiPen is truly impressive.

What is an Allergic Reaction?

Understanding how the EpiPen works begins by focusing on the body’s reaction to substances that it cannot identify. While allergic reactions are commonplace from insect bites to eating the wrong food, most of them are mild in nature. The reaction is really the body trying to fight off what it believes is a foreign invader much like a virus or bacteria. Thus, the swelling is really from the body’s reaction, not the substance itself.

However, some people will have a severe reaction which means that the histamines which cause the swelling among other things gets out of control. A serious reaction may have dire consequences if it is not treated quickly. Such reactions not only cause swelling and hives to break out on the skin, but will also affect the breathing, blood pressure, and heartrate.

The swelling in the face, lips, and especially the throat becomes more than annoying, it can be life-threatening as the airway is cut off. The EpiPen is designed to counter such severe reactions to keep the body from damaging itself.

How the EpiPen Works

The EpiPen is a medication that is designed to counter the effects of the histamine buildup in the body which is caused by a foreign substance. It is injected directly into the body which means that it goes to work right away in reducing the swelling and effects of the allergic reaction. As soon as an allergic reaction is identified or even if it is predicted, the EpiPen should be used quickly.

The thigh is the best place to inject the medication or epinephrine as it will reach most the of the body quickly. It is not recommended that you inject the product into your fee, buttocks, hands, or other areas that are not the thigh. If the product is injected in another part of the body, tell the doctor as soon as you reach a medical facility.

Once injected, the medication works to tamp down the buildup of histamines. While the medication in the EpiPen is rather short-lived, its effects are immediate and sometimes will save a life. However, because of the short-lived nature of the epinephrine involved, it is recommended that you get to the hospital as quickly as possible.

This is because the allergic reaction itself may be tamped down, but not over with. Once the epinephrine wears off, the symptoms of the reaction may rise again without further treatment. It is recommended that you tell the doctor that epinephrine has been used when you enter the hospital.

What to Know

There are things you should know before using the EpiPen. This is especially true for those who have not used the product before or have young children who may need it.

Get the Right Product: While most severe allergic reactions have the same basic symptoms, there are different causes which need to be addressed. Letting your pharmacist know what you are allergic to will help in getting the right EpiPen for your needs. Plus, you should let them know your medical history and any conditions they should be aware. Suffering from high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, and other conditions should be told to your physician and pharmacist.

Follow the Directions: While most EpiPen products have you inject the medication in the thigh, there may be some which have directions that are different. Always follow the directions that are listed on the product itself. Taking a few seconds to ensure that you are using it right is far better than taking chances.

2 Injection Limit: Normally, the first injection can buy enough time to get you to a hospital. But if you are far away from medical help, then a second injection may be needed. However, you do not want to exceed two injections because that might cause an even more severe reaction.

Too much epinephrine in the system can cause an irregular heartbeat and make it difficult to breathe due to too much fluid in the lungs. So, limit the injections to just two until you can get the proper attention. Be sure to alert the physician before treatment that you have undergone two injections of the medication.

Side Effects: Apart from taking too much of the medication which may cause irregular heartbeat, there are other issues that may be caused as well;

  • Swelling around the injection site
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures

If you have any of these side effects, tell your physician right away. The more information you can provide about how the injection affects your body, the better.

Sulfides: There may be some who are hesitant to take epinephrine because it contains sulfides. There are those who are allergic to sulfides, which are found in eggs and other products. However, a small issue with sulfides should not stop you from using the EpiPen when needed. Be sure to talk to you doctor about sulfides.

For those who suffer from severe allergic reactions to certain foods, insect bites, and the like, having an EpiPen is crucial. You can save money by getting an EpiPen coupon which allows for a discount. This means that you can have an emergency EpiPen on your person and perhaps one at home or in the car. Keep in mind that an EpiPen contains perishable medicine, so if it is not clear you should get a new one quickly.