One big reason auto-injectors are so important for people with allergies: You can't predict allergic reactions. They can be mild one time and serious the next. An attack can quickly become intense and sometimes lead to anaphylaxis -- a severe, often life-threatening reaction.
An auto-injector, such as EpiPen or Auvi-Q, can treat it with a dose of epinephrine. It can help improve your breathing, raise your blood pressure if it's dropping, and reduce swelling.
Pass the tissues and antihistamine please -- 'tis the season for holiday allergies. Like unwanted gifts, sneezing and congestion arrive, making allergy sufferers miserable and putting a damper on holiday fun.
Fortunately you don't have to be sidelined from the festivities. Whether it's symptoms to food, pets, mold or mildew, allergies during the holidays can be beat -- with lifestyle changes, medication, and a few simple tips.
When you have an allergic reaction, you may wonder if it's time to give yourself a shot with an auto-injector. Experts say even if there's any doubt, use it. It's much more dangerous not to get epinephrine when you're having a severe reaction than to get a dose you don't really need.
Keep the Injector Handy and Ready
The device won't do you any good if you don't have it with you. When you pick up your prescription at the drugstore, you'll get two injectors. Carry both with you at all times in case one doesn't work or you have a reaction needs a second dose.
Extreme heat and cold can damage the medication in your auto-injectors, so store them at room temperature. Don't leave them in your car.
The injectors are usually good for a year, so keep track of the date on the box.
When to Take the Shot
There are many cases when you, or someone you know, need to use an auto-injector, but two general ones are:
You have a life-threatening allergy and you know you've had contact with your allergy trigger. An example: If you have a peanut allergy and your boyfriend ate some peanuts and then kissed you, don't wait for symptoms -- take the epinephrine right away.