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18Feb

In my recent Ruth’s Allergy Diary slot I wrote about conquering the fear of injecting yourself or someone else with an adrenalin auto-injector. Have you been there? Or have you just not used yours because you were too terrified, despite having an anaphylactic reaction?

If you too have ever felt completely overwhelmed and totally unprepared to use your injector – you are not alone.

Anaphylaxis - Fear of using auto-injector

Anaphylaxis – Fear of using auto-injector

I was just like you, I ignored TWO reactions and didn’t use my injector.
The third time the reaction was much worse and I knew I didn’t have much time. With the help of my husband (shouting at me down the phone to use it) and paramedics on the phone, I finally took the plunge and stabbed my thigh.

It was fine. It didn’t hurt (much). There was so much other pain going on that I was barely registering the needle to be honest. My throat felt like it was constricting and tightening slowly and so little air was getting through. My inhaler wasn’t working.

It’s absolutely terrifying. I was shaking with fear the first time I used mine; in the middle of a pretty horrendous anaphylactic attack, I couldn’t speak, I could barely make a sound.

To read more on what feelings race through your body in that moment when you realise you have to do this thing, ou have to inject, read Ruth’s Allergy Diary (link at the top).

Like me, like you – all these people are terrified of using their adrenalin injector

I found these videos on YouTube recently and thought they might also help you see you are not the only one feeling like this(Thank you Alan!) They all show people trying to inject themselves with adrenalin. They are all terrified of doing it. They all have friends with them who are of varying degrees of support… but they all have one thing in common.

Like me. Like you. They are all quaking with fear at having to use an auto-injector.

Iowa State Footballer is stung by a bee and is terrified of using his Auto-injector

Girl with celery allergy trying to use her auto-injector for the first time. Warning: swearing alert!

Phil has been stung by a bee and is terrified of using his injector – he has to get his friend to help him.

Drunk at a party, this could happen to any of us, this guy and his friends are pretty clueless and confused, wasting valuable time and joking about.

Some of the videos are hard to watch, the friends don’t always seem to help, they aren’t staying calm, they are in a heightened state of excitement and make the situation worse. Make sure your friends know exactly what needs to be done so that they can help you stay calm if you ever need to use yours. I hope you don’t.

Now you know you are not alone, suck up the fear and practise, practise, practise.

Get a trainer pen and show others how to do it for you.

What these videos illustrate is that in the heat of the moment, in the panic of someone having an attack, it’s frightening.

Only one of these people is sitting down. The correct proceedure is to sit down, or if you can’t find a chair, sit on the floor, against a wall or lean on anything. You should NOT EVER be walking around which three of these people were. However only one of them looked to be having a bad reaction, the girl was having breathing difficulties which is a very dangerous warning signal but the other two seemed to not be having too bad a reaction.

All their friends offered to help except one, who I guess wanted to force the girl to get over the fear – she might have to do it alone one day and was videoing herself doing it because her friend called her ‘pussy’ for being so scared of a little needle.

One refused help from his friends but then couldn’t actually do it himself although he did manage eventually. The other two got their friends to do it, but they too were scared and had to keep rechecking the instructions etc. and made a bit of a laugh out of the situation. This is serious stuff. It’s great the friends helped but comments like “That was so cool!” and “Now lets get a beer.” which you can hear in two of the videos made me flinch a little.

However none were administered completely correctly.

  • Sit still – don’t move around.
  • Stay calm and act fast.
  • Inject into the side of thigh firmly – they all managed to get this right
  • Always hold in place for 10 seconds – They all did this too
  • Rub the area afterwards for 10 seconds – nope, they didn’t do this
  • If you do need to use your injector always get medical help, either by calling 999 immediately or get to hospital. Only the girl said she was going to go to hospital. My advice would be call 999.

These videos are not my advice to you on how to admister an injector. I don’t want anyone to watch these videos and think this is how it should be. But it is a lesson on how most people seem to behave – me included. They panic.

It’s natural to be frightened, but you CAN help yourself by making sure you are really prepared.

There is a reason for doing this in the right way, swiftly and in the right order so get it right please everyone! Practise, practise, practise… Now watch my short video showing how to administer an adrenalin auto injector.

  

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