If your child has had a severe allergic
reaction in the past, you know how frightening it can be. Symptoms of breathing
problems, itching, and swelling can come on quickly and become
life-threatening. Giving your child an epinephrine shot can slow down or stop
an allergic reaction. That's why it is important to have an allergy kit
containing an epinephrine shot with you at all times and to know the right way
to use it. It could save your child's life someday.
There are some
important things to think about before you give the shot:
It is also important to:
All I have to do is give my child the
After giving your child a shot, you will still
need to get your child emergency medical care. Symptoms of a severe allergic
reaction can return or get worse after an epinephrine shot.
Continue to Why?
epinephrine shot can slow down or stop your child's allergic reaction.
Epinephrine relieves wheezing, breathing problems, and
hives. It helps keep blood pressure within a normal
range and also reduces swelling that can occur in the hands, feet, eyelids,
tongue, and throat.
If your child has had a serious allergic
reaction in the past, his or her risk of having another is high. But people
react differently when they are exposed to the
allergen that causes their allergic reaction. It is
important to get clear instructions from your doctor on when you should give
your child an epinephrine shot.
An epinephrine shot comes as an
automatic injector that is prefilled with one shot of epinephrine. It is made
to be quick and simple to use.
Take care of your child's
I should keep my child's allergy kit in my car so it
is always handy.
To work properly, epinephrine needs to be kept
at room temperature. A car can get too hot. A better idea would be to keep one
kit in your purse or briefcase, one at home, and one at your child's
Continue to How?
View a slideshow to see how it's done:
Your child should feel the effects of the medicine almost
right away. These may include a rapid heartbeat and nervousness as well as
improved breathing. The benefits of the shot usually last 10 to 20
In some severe cases, you may need to give a second shot.
Your doctor will explain when a second shot is needed. Make sure you
understand, and ask questions if you are not sure. Too much epinephrine can
cause serious side effects, such as difficulty breathing.
I don't feel comfortable giving my child a shot. If
she has an allergic reaction, I can just take her to the hospital.
Your child was prescribed an allergy kit
because she is at risk for a dangerous allergic reaction. Symptoms can come on
within seconds and quickly become life-threatening. If your child has a
reaction, she cannot wait until you get to a hospital to be treated. You must
give her the shot right away. Luckily, giving the shot is easy.
Continue to Where?
If you have any questions
about giving your child an epinephrine shot or about when to give a second
shot, discuss them with your doctor. Be sure you know how to administer an
epinephrine shot before you need to do so.
For more information about allergic reactions, see the
Return to topic:
March 9, 2011
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
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