Don’t Try This At Home

A friend of mine recently posted an article titled “This Is What It Feels Like To Have An Anaphylactic Allergic Reaction” on Facebook.  And boy, did it make me angry.  Not the description of the reaction – that was hers, and we all describe it in our own way.

What made me so adont-try-this-at-homengry was the absolutely cavalier attitude toward the use of an Epi-Pen.  A simple Google search reveals deaths caused by its improper use,  and all recommendations, including from the manufacturer, state that you should go to a doctor, or ideally, an Emergency Room, after using one.

So, why am I bothering to write this?  Because the sister of the original post’s author challenged me to do so.  Her exact words were “[I} encourage you to write a thorough and educational piece on this topic that meets your own standards.”

So, here’s my advice, and I’m going to assume you’ll know enough to check it with your own doctor:

  • TALK to your doctor.  If you are not clear on anything she says, keep asking until you are.  I know many of us have doctors who schedule so tightly we feel rushed (as I am sure they do too), but make them take the time you need, or change doctors.
  • READ the inserts provided with any medication.   If you don’t understand them, ASK your doctor AND ASK your pharmacist.  They have different levels of knowledge on these issues – they are both necessary for you to be fully informed.
  • If those inserts are not included, as they often are not with medications that do not come independently packaged, ASK your pharmacist for a copy.
  • DON’T assume what works for someone else will work for you.
  • DON’T recommend your methods to others as though you know they will work for them (as the author does with her “lip test”).
  • DO speak up if you see someone using medication irresponsibly, even if all you say is “is that how your doctor suggested you use that?”  (Yes, stick your nose in their business.)

I wish I could come up with a cute acronym for these points, but hell, at least you can be sure none of them will put you at risk.  (Unless, of course, the recipient of your concern in the final point punches you in the nose.)

Good health!

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