Using Epinephrine to Treat Allergic Asthma
I confess. I’m scared of epinephrine. Yes, I know, I know. It can save my son’s life, so for this I’m grateful. And I will use it if needed, as I have done before during his first anaphylactic experience. But I still am fearful of using it. There are many reasons, which I won’t go into, but ultimately I know it’s super critical to use it at the first signs of anaphylaxis.
But here’s my problem.
Today my son’s allergist told me that I should use epinephrine ANY time my son starts to show signs of breathing distress after exposure to a known food allergen. And I should use it first, before Benedryl or Ventolin. And if he’s going into an asthma crisis unrelated to food, to go ahead and use epinephrine as well.
I was totally shocked. I mean, everything I’d ever heard or read was that epinephrine should be used at the first signs of anaphylaxis, which technically means two bodily systems are compromised after exposure to an allergen. So, trouble breathing and hives or vomiting and itchy skin. But to use epinephrine if only one bodily system is involved, wow. Ok, I needed some time to wrap my mind around that. The doctor went on to say that he’s never liked to be a negative nellie or to strike fear in his patient’s parents, but the children at most risk for a severe or truly life threatening allergic reaction are those that are asthmatic. And especially those with chronic asthma, as my son has been suffering lately. You can read more about that here.
Given my son’s history with asthma and allergic reactions, I’d say epinephrine and I are about to get more personal. I’m not sure I’m ok with this, but what are the alternatives? I just don’t want to go there.
So, yes, I’m scared of epinephrine, but our lives have crossed paths and there is no going back. We’ll surely be forced friends for live. If you’re like me and have a fear of epinephrine, first it’s good to admit how you feel as it will help you move past that fear and secondly, take a look at this post from my friend Elizabeth over at Easy Breezy Food Allergies. I hope it will give you the courage to look past your fears and use epinephrine without second guessing yourself.