Germ Illustration

Using an EpiPen®

When to Use an EpiPen®

Use the EpiPen® during an allergic reaction if a person experiences:

  • difficulty breathing
  • swelling the in the throat making swallowing difficult
  • wheezing
  • raspy cough
  • fainting, collapse or loss of consciousness

Side Effects of Epinephrine

Usually minor:

  • dizziness
  • anxiety
  • increased heart rate

If you think there may be any risk to life because of difficulty in breathing, or the individual is beginning to feel faint, the earlier you give the epinephrine, the better it will work.

If in doubt, use the EpiPen®

How to Use an EpiPen®

EpiPen instructions may vary depending on the pen. All staff should know how to use each child’s EpiPen®.

Treatment of Anaphylaxis

  1. Ensure a second person has called 911 as soon as the decision to use the EpiPen® is made.
  2. Inform the 911 operator of possible anaphylaxis and use of EpiPen®.
  3. Notify the family or designate of the situation.
  4. If available, a second EpiPen® may be used in 15 minutes if there is no improvement, or if the allergic reaction recurs.

Storing the EpiPen®

  • Do not refrigerate or freeze.
  • Protect from light by keeping in case.
  • Do not keep in extreme heat.
  • Make a note of the expiry date and replace as necessary.
  • Parents are responsible to replace child’s personal EpiPen® when expired.
  • The EpiPen® must be immediately available at all times.

Points to Remember

  • Not all allergic reactions need the EpiPen®.
  • A rash, hives, or swelling may occur, but if there is no difficulty breathing, swallowing, and no loss of consciousness, the EpiPen® is not required.
  • If given to a healthy person or if used earlier than necessary during an allergic reaction, there will be no harm.
  • Report your observations to the parent/guardian if you see signs or symptoms of a potential allergic reaction.

Last modified: February 19, 2020