(BPT) - Warm weather is here, bringing barbecues, picnics and more time spent outdoors. Everyone should be able to enjoy these popular pastimes, including the up to six million Americans at risk for a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. For these people, a bee sting, shrimp on the barbecue or a latex balloon may lead to a life-threatening emergency. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place to help avoid allergens and be prepared if accidental contact occurs.
Life-threatening allergic reactions may occur as a result of exposure to allergens including foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, soy and wheat; insect stings; latex and medication, among other allergens and causes. Outdoor celebrations can pose challenges for people living with severe allergies. Picnics, for example, bring together large groups of people and often a smorgasbord of food. This can be dangerous for those with severe food allergies, as even the smallest amount of an ingredient or cross-contamination with another food can trigger a severe allergic reaction. Eating outside can also attract stubborn insects whose stings may be unpredictable.
Dr. Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo, a pediatric allergist, national expert in anaphylaxis and consultant to Sanofi US, says the best way to prevent anaphylaxis is to avoid the specific allergen(s). However, because severe allergic reactions can be unexpected, it’s critical to always carry an epinephrine auto-injector, such as Auvi-Q™ (epinephrine injection, USP), in case emergency treatment is needed. “I always stress to my patients how important it is to carry an epinephrine auto-injector at all times, in addition to allergen avoidance,” said Dr. Hernandez-Trujillo.
While guidelines emphasize the importance of the life-saving role of epinephrine, two large surveys (n=600 and n=651) show that two-thirds of patients and caregivers do not carry their epinephrine auto-injectors as recommended, and nearly half worry that others will not know how to use their or their child’s epinephrine auto-injector correctly during an emergency.
Those at risk for severe allergic reactions should speak with their healthcare provider about treatment options. Auvi-Q is one option for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions in people who are at risk for or have a history of anaphylaxis. The size and shape of a credit card and the thickness of a smartphone, Auvi-Q is a breakthrough in epinephrine auto-injector design with audio and visual cues that guide patients and caregivers step-by-step through the injection process.
In addition to always carrying an epinephrine auto-injector such as Auvi-Q, here are some tips to help stay safe outdoors and enjoy the coming months:
- Make everyone aware of your or your child’s severe allergies
- Consider making homemade food rather than store-bought or take-out, as these foods may contain hidden allergens
- Single-serve condiment packets can help avoid cross-contamination
- Tablecloths can help protect against anything left on the table from previous meals
- Use foil when grilling food to avoid past contaminants
- Look for non-latex balloon alternatives, such as mylar balloons, for celebration needs
Tips to Avoid Stinging Insects
- Keep food and drink, especially sweets, covered to avoid attracting stinging insects
- Don’t swat at bees. Walk away slowly, instead.
- Wearing close-fitting long sleeves and pants or insect repellent can reduce the risk of getting stung
- Bees and wasps look for food among flowers, plants and garbage, so beware of these areas
Auvi-Q™ (epinephrine injection, USP) is used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) in people who are at risk for or have a history of these reactions.
Important Safety Information
Auvi-Q is for immediate self (or caregiver) administration and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Seek immediate medical treatment after use. Each Auvi-Q contains a single dose of epinephrine. Auvi-Q should only be injected into your outer thigh. DO NOT INJECT INTO BUTTOCK OR INTRAVENOUSLY. If you accidentally inject Auvi-Q into any other part of your body, seek immediate medical treatment. Epinephrine should be used with caution if you have heart disease or are taking certain medicines that can cause heart-related (cardiac) symptoms.
If you take certain medicines, you may develop serious life-threatening side effects from epinephrine. Be sure to tell your doctor all the medicines you take, especially medicines for asthma. Side effects may be increased in patients with certain medical conditions, or who take certain medicines. These include asthma, allergies, depression, thyroid disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The most common side effects may include increase in heart rate, stronger or irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea and vomiting, difficulty breathing, paleness, dizziness, weakness or shakiness, headache, apprehension, nervousness, or anxiety. These side effects go away quickly, especially if you rest.
Talk to your healthcare professional to see if Auvi-Q is right for you.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please visit http://products.sanofi.us/auvi-q/auvi-q.html for full prescribing information.
For additional information and updates, please be sure to also visit and “like” Sanofi US’ Severe Allergy Awareness Facebook page at www.facebook.com/severeallergyawareness.
To learn more about Auvi-Q visit www.Auvi-Q.com.