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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:36 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
My epi-pen is about to expire and I am not sure whether I should get another one.

I was diagnosed wit adult onset food allergies in 2005. At the time, I was living overseas and was not seen by a proper doctor. When I returned to Canada and got help figuring out what was going on, I was told that most of my allergies were not that bad (mostly skin-based reactions) and to go about my business. But there were two reactions I had which were more severe and the doctor told me to get an epi-pen 'just in case.' One of these reactions was to Thai food in one of those restaurants where everything is cooked on the same grill so there is no way to know what it was. The other was a reaction to a raw apple which was either a pesticide reaction or oral allergy syndrome related to the nut allergies. The doctor said these did not sound like 'systemic' reactions (he likened oral allergy syndrome to being like poison ivy---you react where you touch it, but it doesn't enter your blood). I did not use the epi-pen---felt maybe I should have, but didn't chewed a Benadryl and was fine. My doctor was a little horrified, said to err on the side of caution and use it next time, that if my blood pressure drops, I could pass out and hurt myself, so to carry the epi-pen 'just in case.'

That was 2006. Since then, I have never had a reaction that was as bad. 99.9% of the time it's been skin-based reactions which clear up over a few days with some Reactine now and again. I also was recently tested for wheat allergy---the allergy test was negative but my GP thinks the wheat 'reactions' might be IBS, and that some of my other 'allergies' might also fall into that category. Apparently, tree nuts and corn are top IBS triggers. My 'eczema' seems to flare up if I eat something questionable, but I have not had a scary reaction at all since that one time.

I realize the doctors don't seem to have a very good handle on how some of this stuff works. My GP (who to be fair has not impressed me very much with his whole treatment of my allergy issues) seems to think it's just IBS (weird stomach issues run in my family on both sides). The allergist thinks I do have some allergies, and am prone to them. But on the other hand, he said I was negative for wheat and I *definitely* have reactions when I eat it. Not anaphylactic reactions though :)

So, in almost five years, I had maybe two times where I could have used it and did not, and one of those was before I was tested and the other one was probably not anaphylaxis, although it was scary enough :) Now, the epi-pen is going to expire again and I am just not sure I need another one. Can't I just carry around some Benadryl (it's a lot less bulky to carry) and call it a day? If I had ever used it, maybe I would feel more strongly, but this is my second one which will expire and I have never used it at all.

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Vancouver, BC
I'm maybe not a good person to answer this as it's my children (and not me with the allergies) and plus they're children and not adults. If it were me, or my kids were adults, I might think differently, but I would be inclined to just get a new one and carry it 'just in case'. I guess it's a bit of a pain in the bottom to have to bring it everywhere, but I think I would feel better just to have it rather than not have it, and second guess myself in restaurants, etc and get stressed thinking about what if there is a reaction and I don't have my epipen? I know there are adults, especially, who don't carry an epipen and know they can get to the ER in time or just call and ambulance. Maybe it's my cautious nature, but I wouldn't rely on an ambulance arriving to save my life if I know I can help myself with the epipen.

FWIW, we have gone through about 10 or 12 expired epipens, plus the 8 current ones we have now and have never had to use one. I just wish I still had my very good extended health plan!

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:40 am
Posts: 428
Location: Alberta, Canada
I know many parents purchase a few epi's to have in different locations. As an adult I have one twinject (so two shots) I do not feel that I should not have more than one epi. I keep it in my purse (my adult security blanket, lost with out it). I have been careful and have had no serious reaction lately, so they expire. I do not want to think about what would happen if I did not have an epi with me and I had a serious reaction. A reaction is not something I plan so epi is just always with me. Just like home insurance, car insurance I want the insurance of the epi to know I will be fine when a reaction happens.

_________________
Me-Allergic to Peanut, Tree Nut, Coconut, Shellfish, ASA and Asthma
My Husband and Children No Allergies


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6475
Location: Ottawa
Unless you've been confirmed to have outgrown (out lived) your allergies by an proper (conducted under the superviosn of a medical professional) oral challenge, you should assume that you are still allergic and you should get a new auto injector. Reactions can be variedeven within the same individual and symptoms can be swift and deadly.

Don't take chances, get your medication.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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