The story

We've had nearly every meal together for the past 14 years. We've been kayaking on the California coast. We've ridden airplanes, boats, horses, bikes, and an Israeli camel together.

My EpiPen, the auto-injector of epinephrine (which I replace when it expires, of course), is almost always within arm's reach, or in the same room. This shot of adrenaline would theoretically save my life if my throat closed up in an allergic reaction. I've had several close calls with nuts and seafood since childhood, with symptoms ranging from a tingling tongue to a burgeoning lump in my throat.

The allergy injector has both the dependable and nagging qualities of a protective older sibling. It promises to be there when I need it, but also has to follow me around to make sure I'm OK.

The auto-injector reverses an allergic reaction, at least temporarily, by delivering epinephrine, a hormone involved in the body's natural "fight or flight" response, to block the release of histamine, a protein involved in reactions. There is also a product called Twinject that delivers two doses of epinephrine in one device.

Rather than a quick fix, any allergy injector should be viewed as a "time management tool" that allows a person time to safely get to an emergency room, said Dr. Jeffery Adelglass at the Allergy Testing & Treatment Center in Plano, Texas. Further treatment at a hospital is needed after use because the epinephrine wears off, and there could be complications, he said. Watch for more about allergies Read full article »

All About AllergiesEpiPen

Don't Miss

Health Library