More People Need Training in Lifesaving Epinephrine Use, Advocates Say

Parents, educators, caregivers, friends can respond to severe food allergies

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"I've never had to use an EpiPen, but for my daughter's sake, I've run it over a thousand times in my head. If there ever was a reason to do it, I hope I could," Able said.

Some people also worry about harming a child if it turns out the epinephrine wasn't really needed. But epinephrine pens are safe and may cause a temporarily fast heart rate; that's about it, Friedman said.

That's one message Able tries to make sure her friends and relatives understand when she hands them her daughter's epinephrine pen.

"I always stress, 'Even if there is a suspicion she needs it, please give it. Don't hesitate. I will never be mad if you give the shot,' " Able said. "You can't hurt a child by giving that dose of epinephrine. But the consequences for not doing it could be fatal."

More information

The California Department of Education has more on how to use an epinephrine pen.

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