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Allergy Kit

Topic Overview

If you have used an epinephrine shot to treat an allergic reaction or have been accidentally stuck with an epinephrine shot, call your doctor. You may need more medical care. An accidental stick in the hands or feet may stop blood flow to these areas.

Keeping everything you need together in one place (allergy kit) can help you deal with a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

Your allergy kit should contain:

  • Simple instructions about how and when to use the kit. You can get this from your doctor.
  • Sterilizing swabs to cleanse the skin before and after the shot. You can buy these at a pharmacy or drugstore.
  • Epinephrine in a preloaded syringe. This is prescribed by your doctor.
  • Antihistamines, such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton. These may be over-the-counter or prescribed by your doctor.

Be aware that:

  • Medicines may lose their effectiveness if they are exposed to sunlight or temperatures above 88°F (31°C) or below 32°F (0°C).
  • Medicines expire. Check expiration dates, and replace your medicines as needed.
  • Epinephrine should be clear. A solution that is pinkish brown should be thrown away.

Always keep an allergy kit with you. And it's best to keep extra kits in several different places, such as at home and at work. Don't leave epinephrine in cars or bags that may be left where the temperature gets too hot or too cold.

Epinephrine usually comes as a preloaded, automatic, self-injecting syringe, such as an epinephrine shot. To be safe, carry two self-injecting syringes.

Epinephrine also comes in doses for children. Children who are at risk of severe allergic reactions should keep kits at school or day care as well as at home.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised April 8, 2013

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