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An Effective Way to Learn About Epi-Pens

The most popular medication used to prevent anaphylaxis in children with food
allergies is called the Epi-Pen. Although the company that makes this device
also makes an Epi-Pen Trainer, I have found that parents are better able to use
an Epi-Pen if they practice with the real device. To accomplish this, I keep a
supply of expired Epi-Pens on hand and give them to parents if one of their
children is diagnosed with a food allergy. (My supply comes from other parents
who give me their old Epi-Pens after they expire.) After showing parents how to
use the Epi-Pen, I have them go home and practice on an orange or grapefruit to
simulate what it will feel like if they need to administer the Epi-Pen to their
child. I ask parents to return used Epi-Pens so I can dispose of them with other
medical waste. If you have a child with food allergies, ask your doctor if he or
she could set up the same program for patients.

Howard J. Bennett, M.D.