Severe Allergies: Why You Should Consider Carrying 2 EpiPens

allergies-carry-2-epipensIf you suffer from a serious allergy, you know how traumatizing anaphylactic shock can be. It’s very frightening to develop itchy hives on your body because you know what’s coming soon. Your throat will begin to swell and your blood pressure will drop. Then, you’ll have difficulty breathing. At that point, there’s only one course of action. You need to self-administer a life-saving dose of epinephrine to your body to stop the allergic reaction. More allergists prescribe EpiPens than any other type of self-injectable epinephrine.

Adults and children with a history of severe reactions to food allergies or bee stings are advised to carry an EpiPen with them constantly. Bees can attack unpredictably if you disturb their hive. It’s impossible to predict when a food allergy will occur. People who are allergic to peanuts can discover that they’ve eaten something containing peanuts without knowing it. If you have the alpha-gal food allergy, you might eat something that was cooked on the same grill as beef. This type of delayed-onset allergy takes its time before attacking. It can be as long as six hours before you develop anaphylactic shock. If you know about your allergy, you probably carry an EpiPen, but many people don’t realize they’re allergic to foods or bee venom.

During a recent study conducted at two Boston-area hospitals, epinephrine was administered to 44 percent of the 1,200 children who presented with allergic distress. From that group, 10 percent needed a second shot. Another allergist who conducted research in Boston’s Children’s Hospital said that 12 percent required two doses to quell the attack. Allergist Susan Rudders said that there’s no reliable way to tell who will or will not require an extra shot. In either case, carrying a second EpiPen can save your life or the life of a loved one.

Anaphylaxis kills between 150 and 200 people annually in the U.S. It is frequently misdiagnosed in the emergency room. Only 20 percent of those with severe allergic reactions were given epinephine.

Doctors now recommend that anyone with a known allergy, whether to food or bee stings, should carry two EpiPens for two reasons. One dose might not be enough to treat the reaction, and it’s possible to botch the first shot. The second EpiPen then becomes a welcome back-up dose.

Allergies are deadly. If you have to carry an EpiPen, it makes sense to carry two of them.