Medical kits for those at risk of anaphylaxis
Those at risk of anaphylaxis need to have a medical kit that contains their ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis, their adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector and any other medications referred to within their ASCIA Action Plan.
Adrenaline autoinjector training devices and expired devices are not to be kept in this kit.
Consider wrapping some coloured tape around your training device so it is easily recognised as a training device and store it elsewhere, away from the medical kit. Point this out to your child’s school or childcare as well.
Carrier bags and pouches can be purchased through www.allergyfacts.org.au
More adrenaline autoinjector tips
Ask your pharmacist to label BOTH devices dispensed. If you have EpiPen® ask that the pharmacy label (with individual’s name) is placed on the outer plastic container as many people dispose of the box. Be sure to check that the expiry date on the box is the same as the expiry date on the device.
When you replace the soon to expire device at school or childcare, ask for your child’s medical kit so you can physically do the adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector swap yourself. Take the expired device home and put the new/replacement device in the kit. This ensures the replacement device makes it to your child’s medical kit at school or childcare and is not misplaced.
Check the medical kit at least each term. Take it home for the holiday period. Check expiry dates on all medication. Make sure your ASCIA Action Plan has been reviewed by your treating doctor in the last 12 – 18 months
Who should be trained?
Have you checked that your child/teenagers teacher/s have been trained in allergy and anaphylaxis within the last two-year period? What about casual teachers at your school? Have they been trained? Visit Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia’s Discussion Paper on ‘Who should be trained’ in school and childcare settings.
Children, adrenaline autoinjectors and bum bags
We are currently receiving many calls about young children (4,5,6,7 and 8 year olds) carrying their EpiPen® on their person whilst at school. Unless this is something your allergist has encouraged, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia see this as unnecessary and possibly a danger.
Your child’s medical kit needs to be easily accessible in an unlocked location when they are at school. Schools must have a system in place to get the kit to your child within a few minutes in an emergency. The important things to focus on are that teachers are trainied in recognition of an allergic reaction as well as administration of the adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector. The school needs to have a system in place to get the medical kit to the child in a hurry. This is something that should be practised from time to time, like a fire drill.
There are reasons we rarely support young children carrying their devices on their person. Even children who are ‘really good’ about their allergy management have:
- Removed their bumbag and put it in their desk because someone teased them. Teachers were unaware the child was putting the kit in their desk (hidden) when at school. This is a danger as in an emergency there will be a delay in finding the adrenaline.
- Been asked by a friend what is in their kit, and taken out their autoinjector and injected either themselves or their little friends accidently or fired the device and put it back without telling anyone. (We have had several reports of this happening with the child then returning the activated device to their medical kit which then goes unnoticed, leaving the child without access to their emergency medication).
Whilst we need to teach children to care for themselves and manage their allergy, we need to be careful we do this at an age appropriate level. Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia encourages parents to speak with their doctor about the child having their device on their person in later years of primary school in preparation for secondary school. In secondary school it is best practise for the student to have the medical kit on their person because the child is rarely in one place for any length of time. Secondary school children also often have before and after school activities without adult supervision, so having the child have access to their medical kits at all times is important.
If, a child of any age travels to school on their own, without adult supervision, they must have their medical kit containing their ASCIA Action Plan and their adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector with them.
Free anaphylaxis e-training course for the community
An anaphylaxis e-training course for the public has been launched by ASCIA! Do the course and learn some more. Ask family and friends to do it too. It’s FREE!
ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for first aid (community) has been developed by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) in response to the recognised need for ready access to reliable and consistent anaphylaxis education.