How to Safely Use an EpiPen

Knowing how to use an EpiPen before it's actually needed will ensure that the medication is delivered correctly and safely once it's needed. DO NOT ACTIVATE THE EPIPEN DEVICE UNLESS YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A SEVERE ALLERGIC REACTION FOR WHICH THIS MEDICATION WAS PRESCRIBED. If you would like to be able to fully practice with an EpiPen, check with your doctor or pharmacist for a training EpiPen (that contains no needle or medication) which can be practiced with safely.

Close-up of injection pen against white background
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How to Use an EpiPen

  1. Remove the EpiPen from the carrying case.
  2. Grasp the EpiPen in your dominant hand, placing your thumb over your fingers, forming a fist. Do not place your thumb over either end of the EpiPen - this could result in accidental injection of the medication into the thumb.
  3. Remove the blue safety cap from the EpiPen. The device will not work if this blue cap is attached.
  4. Firmly push the end of the EpiPen with the orange tip into the side of the thigh (upper leg). When the orange tip is pushed against the leg, a needle will pop out of the device, injecting the medication into the muscle of the thigh. The EpiPen needle will be able to pierce through most types of clothing, so pants do not need to be removed first in an allergic emergency.
  5. Hold the EpiPen device firmly against the thigh for a total of 10 seconds while the medication is being injected. Do not bounce the device off of the thigh prior to this time.
  6. Remove the EpiPen needle from the leg and put the used EpiPen in a safe place. The device is for single use only and cannot be used again.
  7. Call 911 or have another person take you to the closest emergency room. Inform medical authorities that you have injected youself with an EpiPen because you have experienced a severe allergic reaction. Be as specific as possible as to what may have caused the allergic reaction.
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