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Fast help for allergic emergencies.

For at least 2,000,000 Americans, an insect sting can be fatal. Each year, there are approximately 40 deaths from anaphylactic reactions to them.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that occurs when a person is exposed to an allergen to which he or she previously has been sensitized. This condition commonly is triggered by insect stings (especially those of bees, hornets and wasps); foods (including milk, eggs, nuts, and shellfish); and widely used drugs (such as penicillin, seizure medicines, muscle relaxants, and even aspirin).

Early manifestations of impending anaphylaxis include hives and itching, flushing, wheezing, hoarseness, and swelling of the hands and feet. Two-thirds of those affected also experience upper respiratory problems, and half suffer a severe drop in blood pressure. Symptoms can appear anywhere from a few seconds to two hours after exposure to the allergen.

For those at risk of such reactions, Survival Technology, Inc., Bethesda, Md., has developed the EpiPen Epinephrine Auto-Injector, a disposable drug delivery system that is designed for emergency self-administered first aid. To activate the device, users remove the safety cap, place the tip against the outer thigh, then push it against the skin until the unit activates, hold it in place for several seconds, and discard.

A pre-measured dosage of epinephrine, the best drug to treat anaphylaxis, is administered into the thigh muscle. The Auto-injector features a concealed needle, which assures quick delivery of the medication, minimizes apprehension and the fear of self-administration, and penetrates the skin with little or no sensation. Working directly on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, the dosage counters the potentially fatal effects of anaphylaxis by rapidly constricting the blood vessels, relaxing muscles in the lungs to improve breathing, reversing swelling around the throat, and stimulating the heartbeat.
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Title Annotation:EpiPen Epinephrine Auto-Injector
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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