Despite your trouble and toil, the risk
that you or your child will be exposed to a food allergen is always there.
After all, no amount of labeling, forbidding of certain foods in your house, or
sanitizing shared spaces can prevent a child who had a peanut butter cracker
from touching your peanut-allergic kid during their soccer game. That’s why
it’s so important to be prepared to treat an allergic reaction if one occurs. Create
several of these kits, and keep one at home, at work, and in your gym locker. If
your child is the one with the food allergies, leave a kit with his teacher,
school administrators, babysitters, and at any location he visits fairly
frequently. Here, a list of what should be in your kit and important reminders
about using them.
in a Kit
WHAT IT DOES: For people with severe
allergies, a shot of this hormone as soon as an allergic reaction begins can
mean the difference between life and death. Keep at least one epinephrine
auto-injector, such as Auvi-Q or EpiPen, in your emergency kit. Make a note of
expiration dates, and replace them before they expire and are no longer
effective. The wrong time to find out your medicine has expired is while you’re
having a severe allergic reaction.
REMEMBER: Do not leave epinephrine in
your car or anywhere that can get very hot or cold. The fluctuations in
temperature may degrade the shot and make it less effective. Also, keep
instructions on administering the epinephrine shot with the kit so you can show
someone who is assisting you during the allergic episode how to administer the
medicine to you. Tell your friends, family members, and co-workers where you
store your kits. In the event of an allergic reaction, they need to be able to
find the kit quickly.
IMPORTANT: Laws regarding who can store
and administer epinephrine vary from state to state. Check with your workplace
and your child’s school before having one in your kit. Some schools allow
epinephrine to be stored only if the school employs a full-time medical
WHAT IT DOES: Keep an inhaler in your
kits if you experience severe breathing problems or asthma-like symptoms during
an allergic reaction. As you will for an epinephrine auto-injector, note your
inhalers’ expiration dates, and replace them before they expire.
REMEMBER: Use an inhaler only if your
doctor prescribes one to you; never use another person’s inhaler.
WHAT IT DOES: Antihistamine medicines,
such as Benadryl, target histamines or chemicals your body produces during an
allergic reaction. Antihistamines can slow down or stop the allergic episode if
taken quickly enough. If you do not have an epinephrine auto-injector or cannot
administer the injection, taking a dose of liquid antihistamine may save your
life. The few minutes you’ll gain as the medicine slows down your body’s
response can make a big difference when you’re trying to get to an emergency
REMEMBER: Antihistamines in pill form do
work, but liquid antihistamines act much faster. Chewable antihistamines are
faster to respond, too. Replace this medicine before it expires and becomes
WHAT IT DOES: Create a medical
information sheet for each of your allergy kits. Be sure the following
information is included: what you’re allergic to, medicines that you take, your
allergy response plan (what medicines you should be given), a list of emergency
contacts and their phone numbers, your health insurance information, and your
doctor’s office phone number.
REMEMBER: Update your information as it
changes. Outdated information may slow down your treatment in the event of an