Last school year, children at a Pennsylvania elementary school attended a health fair put on by the school’s Wellness Committee. The kids had a lot of fun and learned valuable information, including how to use an epinephrine auto-injector in case of a severe allergic reaction. At the time, no one could have predicted just how valuable that information would be – in this case it helped save the life of one of the students with food allergies at the school.
Months after the health fair, Paige, who has severe food allergies, was out to dinner with her family. Unfortunately, her meal unintentionally contained one of the foods she is allergic to, and when she came home she started to complain that her tummy hurt. Shortly thereafter, she began coughing, wheezing and was in severe distress. Her parents grabbed Paige’s epinephrine auto-injector, but in their panic, they couldn’t remember how exactly to administer it. An old style of the device used to have a button, and the new one did not.
Just then their oldest daughter, Zoe, said, “I know how to use it. We learned in the health fair. You don’t have to press a button – just push it into her thigh and hold for 10 seconds.” So while she held her sister’s hand, her father administered the epinephrine following Zoe’s detailed instructions and her mother called 911.
Four hours and one ambulance ride later, Paige was just fine, and Zoe became a hero – all because of the information she learned at school.
Paige’s family is so grateful for the woman who taught Zoe how to use the auto-injector at the fair. She remembered all the details in a crisis situation and really saved the day.
This story reminds us of the critical importance of education and awareness efforts in school. We encourage you to share FARE’s educational materials and get involved in teaching others how to use an epinephrine auto-injector.