WHAT TO DO WITH EXPIRED EPIPENS
If you’re anything like me, you have a huge stash of expired EpiPens. I’ve got about 30 right now. With 2 kids that have food allergies, the pile grows pretty fast. Yet I can’t bring myself to dispose of them. On the one hand, I’m thankful we didn’t have to use them. On the other hand, they were expensive and are now useless.
PRACTICE THE EPIPEN ON AN ORANGE
Years ago, a friend mentioned to me that she would use her expired EpiPens to practice into an orange. They say that an orange gives a similar resistance as injecting into our thigh. I thought it was a great idea at the time but never did anything about it. We just did our usual practice with the EpiPen trainer and called it a day.
However, a few days ago I finally decided it was time for both my son and daughter to try administering a real EpiPen. They’ve both felt what it’s like on the receiving end, but have never administered it themselves. My kids are now old enough to self-carry their EpiPens, so it was high time they tried administering it. Hopefully the need will never arise.
They’ve handled the EpiPen in its carrier tube many times, but when it came to taking it out, they were more than a little apprehensive. Knowing that a needle would soon be exposed scared them.
VIDEO – EPIPEN TRAINING
Blue to the sky. Orange to the thigh.
That’s in the directions for how to hold the EpiPen.
- Remove the EpiPen Auto-Injector from the carrying tube.
- Hold the EpiPen firmly in one hand with orange tip facing downward. Remove blue safety cap by pulling straight up. Do not bend or twist.
- Swing and push orange tip firmly into mid-outer thigh until you hear a “click”. Hold on thigh for 3 seconds. (This has recently changed from 10 seconds.)
So for our practice with the orange, make sure you supervise your kids and be careful so you do not accidentally stick yourselves.
PHOTOS – STEP BY STEP
Remove EpiPen from carrying tube.
Hold EpiPen with blue cap at the top and orange tip facing down.
Remove blue safety cap. Then, make sure your thumb is not on the top where the blue safety cap was, but instead wrapped around the EpiPen with your other fingers.
Swing and push orange tip firmly into the orange until you hear a “click”. We tried swinging versus not swinging. Just placing it on your chosen spot and pushing firmly seemed to work well. The aim was better. You could hear a “click” when it was done correctly.
Hold the EpiPen in for 3 seconds.
Note how the orange needle cover automatically extends to cover the needle after injection.
All in all, it was a good practice session. The EpiPen is just a little more familiar to them now. It’s good to handle the real thing. There’s a certain feel and weight to it that is different than the trainer. I think we’ll continue to practice on an orange from time to time.
GET RID OF THE ORANGE
Make sure you throw away the orange or compost it. Don’t eat it. And by the way, that orange is now worth $300! LOL
TEACH SOMEONE ELSE
If you have additional expired EpiPens, it might be a good idea to teach someone else to administer it. Grandparents and your child’s teachers would be good candidates. Do you have any food allergy BFFs you can teach how to use an EpiPen?
WHEN TO USE THE EPIPEN
So now everyone knows how to use their EpiPen. But it’s also important to know when to use it. Make sure you have a discussion with your child and other caretakers about this.
For detailed instructions and a video on how to use the EpiPen, click here.
For an allergen-adaptable children’s picture book where the main character needs to use his/her EpiPen, click here.
Will you give this a try? Let us know how it goes and share any tips in the comments.
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