(BPT) - For many parents or caregivers, gearing up for back to school means purchasing new supplies, packing lunches and refreshing wardrobes. However, for the families of the nearly six million children living with life-threatening food allergies,1,2 back-to-school readiness also includes something more essential: ensuring children, and their teachers, are prepared to take action in an allergic emergency.
One in every 13 children in the U.S. have a potentially life-threatening food allergy — that’s roughly two in every classroom3.
Dr. Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo, pediatric doctor and mother of children with life-threatening allergies, knows this all too well. “I am pleased to partner with kaléo to share the importance of life-threatening allergy preparedness. For parents like me, it’s important to have an anaphylaxis action plan in place and speak to your school and children about life-threatening allergies and how to administer an epinephrine auto-injector in the event of an allergic emergency,” says Dr. Hernandez-Trujillo.
Dr. Hernandez-Trujillo acknowledges that avoiding allergens altogether is one way to keep kids safe, but also something that can prove difficult to do. It is crucial that patients carry an epinephrine auto-injector, which delivers medicine that will treat a life-threatening allergic reaction,4,5 and have it available at all times. There are several epinephrine auto-injector options available. “Many of my patients prefer AUVI-Q® (epinephrine injection, USP) because it is designed to be easy to carry and has voice and visual instructions to guide you step-by-step through the injection process in an allergic emergency,” says Dr. Hernandez-Trujillo. Patients should always remember to seek emergency medical treatment after using AUVI-Q.
Devise a plan
As a first step, parents or caregivers should work with their doctors to determine an anaphylaxis plan that works for them; examples of these can be found on the websites of various advocacy or professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, for education on parenting and food allergies. From there, parents should consider setting up a meeting with the child’s teacher to ensure they are aware of the signs of an anaphylactic reaction — like throat tightness, trouble breathing, severe itching, rashes, swelling or hives, dizziness or fainting, diarrhea and vomiting6. Parents and caregivers should also ensure that teachers can administer an epinephrine auto-injector, and have it available at all times.
Obtain an epinephrine auto-injector
Preparing for back to school also involves speaking to your doctor to determine which epinephrine auto-injector is right for you or your family. While supply issues related to epinephrine auto-injector products by other manufacturers continue, AUVI-Q®, a prescription medicine approved to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, is available nationwide at Walgreens, or through kaléo’s direct delivery service at $0 for eligible commercially insured patients.
Allergen education and avoidance
Ensure that children know how to avoid the food or other items they are severely allergic to before they head off to school.
“Wherever your child is – whether that’s at school or home – they need to be prepared,” said Dr. Hernandez-Trujillo. “Those affected by life-threatening allergies should always carry an epinephrine auto-injector and should ensure that their prescriptions are up to date. I encourage families to train other children, classmates or their siblings who are old enough to be able to use an epinephrine auto-injector. Reviewing how to properly respond to and administer an epinephrine auto-injector is also essential. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel about your ability to provide proper treatment during an allergic emergency.”
Because an allergic reaction can happen anywhere,4, 7-10, children with life-threatening food allergies shouldn’t hesitate to talk openly with their classmates and teachers about their allergies. Dr. Hernandez-Trujillo knows just how important this is. “In addition to being prepared with an epinephrine auto-injector, there should also be an emphasis on the emotional support required for a child entering a new school year with a severe allergy. They could encounter an allergen anywhere, at any time. Openly discussing their allergy can help them feel more confident and comfortable, and their peers can better understand their needs.”
Visit www.auvi-q.com to learn more and view AUVI-Q’s important safety information.
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AUVI-Q® (epinephrine injection, USP) is a prescription medicine used to treat allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in people who are at risk for or have a history of severe allergic reactions.
Important Safety Information
AUVI-Q is for immediate self (or caregiver) administration and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Seek immediate medical treatment after using AUVI-Q. Each AUVI-Q contains a single dose of epinephrine. AUVI-Q should only be injected into your outer thigh, through clothing if necessary. If you inject a young child or infant with AUVI-Q, hold their leg firmly in place before and during the injection to prevent injuries. Do not inject AUVI-Q into any other part of your body, such as into veins, buttocks, fingers, toes, hands, or feet. If this occurs, seek immediate medical treatment and make sure to inform the healthcare provider of the location of the accidental injection. Only a healthcare provider should give additional doses of epinephrine if more than two doses are necessary for a single allergic emergency.
Rarely, patients who use AUVI-Q may develop infections at the injection site within a few days of an injection. Some of these infections can be serious. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms at an injection site: redness that does not go away, swelling, tenderness, or the area feels warm to the touch.
If you have certain medical conditions, or take certain medicines, your condition may get worse or you may have more or longer lasting side effects when you use AUVI-Q. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, especially medicines for asthma. Also tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, especially if you have asthma, a history of depression, thyroid problems, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart problems or high blood pressure, have any other medical conditions, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Epinephrine should be used with caution if you have heart disease or are taking certain medicines that can cause heart-related (cardiac) symptoms.
Common side effects include fast, irregular or ‘pounding’ heartbeat, sweating, shakiness, headache, paleness, feelings of over excitement, nervousness, or anxiety, weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, or breathing problems. These side effects usually go away quickly, especially if you rest. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
Please see the full Prescribing Information and the Patient Information at www.auvi-q.com.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
- Gupta, RS. The public health impact of parent-reported childhood food allergies in the United States. Pediatrics 2018; 142(6):1-14.
- Gupta, RS. The prevalence, severity, and distribution of childhood food allergy in the United States. Pediatrics 2011; 128(1);e9-e19.
- Food Allergy Research and Education. “Facts and Statistics” https://www.foodallergy.org/life-with-food-allergies/food-allergy-101/facts-and-statistics. Accessed July 2019.
- Tiyyagura GK, Arnold L, Cone DC, Langhan M. Pediatric anaphylaxis management in the prehospital setting. Author manuscript published by the National Institutes of Health, Public Access, PMC January 1, 2015;1-11. Published in final edited form in Prehosp Emerg Care. 2014;18(1):46-51.
- Lieberman, P. Anaphylaxis- a practice parameter update 2015. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 155(2015); 341-384.
- American College of Asthma, Allergies and Immunology. “Anaphylaxis.” https://acaai.org/allergies/anaphylaxis. January 29, 2018. Accessed July 2019.
- Radke TJ, Brown LG, Hoover ER, et al. Food allergy knowledge and attitudes of restaurant managers and staff: an EHS-NET study. Author manuscript published by the Department of Health and Human Services, Public Access, PMC February 23, 2017;1-24. Published in final edited form in J Food Prot. 2016;79(9):1588-1598.
- Wahl A, Stephens H, Ruffo M, Jones AL. The evaluation of a food allergy and epinephrine autoinjector training program for personnel who care for children in schools and community settings. J Sch Nurs. 2015;31(2):91-98.
- Robinson M, Greenhawt M, Stukus D. Factors associated with epinephrine administration for anaphylaxis in children before arrival to the emergency department. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2017;119:164-169.
- Bock SA, Muñoz-Furlong A, Sampson HA. Fatalities due to anaphylactic reactions to foods. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001;107(1):191-193.