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The Importance of Always Carrying Epinephrine: A Personal Account

The Importance of Always Carrying Epinephrine: A Personal Account

Posted by Allergy Apparel on 6th Jan 2024

Living with a food allergy, especially a severe one, comes with its unique challenges and responsibilities. As a parent, my primary focus has always been on keeping my son, River, safe from potential allergens, particularly peanuts. While we've navigated the world of food allergies for 18 years, recent events have reminded us of the critical importance of being prepared at all times and sharing our experiences within the community.

The Unexpected Allergic Reactions:

After 15 years without a reaction requiring an epinephrine injection or an emergency room visit, 2023 brought us two unexpected incidents. Both were stark reminders that even with years of experience, we can sometimes let our guards down.

River, now almost 19 years old, has been allergic to peanuts since he was less than one year old. Our most recent experience occurred during the Christmas break, just after returning from a holiday trip to Puerto Rico. We had become complacent, and it took unexpected incidents to shake us out of our comfort zone.

The Wake-Up Call:

While in Puerto Rico, River went running alone without his epinephrine while we were out surfing – a decision that could have had serious consequences. Fortunately, he did NOT have a reaction. Our most recent incident occurred on the morning of December 31, shortly after returning home. River, having eaten a routine breakfast, went for a run with his father, leaving their phones and epinephrine injectors behind.

The Call Every Food Allergy Parent Dreads:

As I enjoyed a quiet breakfast at home, I received a call from an unfamiliar number. It was my husband, using a stranger's phone to urgently ask for the epinephrine. In that moment, the reality of being a food allergy parent hit hard – the call we all dread but secretly expect.  They had gone out on a run without epinephrine or phones. 

The Race Against Time:

With adrenaline pumping, I raced to River's location, Auvi-Q injectors in hand. Every second counted, and the urgency of the situation became apparent as I recalled the stories of Oakley and Elijah, beautiful souls lost too soon to allergic reactions. River, realizing the severity of his reaction, self-injected with the Auvi-Q, an action that likely saved precious time. His face continued to swell, almost making vision impossible, and he received a second injection.

Arriving at the ER:

Upon reaching the emergency room, the medical team promptly administered an additional epinephrine injection and Benadryl through an IV. The visible reduction in swelling highlighted the life-saving impact of swift action.

The Lessons Learned:

Our recent experiences serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of always carrying emergency medications and having a well-thought-out emergency plan. While we can't live in fear, we must live prepared. Travel plans should include familiarity with local emergency care procedures and locations, ensuring that an alternative plan is in place.


Sharing our story isn't easy, as it opens us up to potential judgment. However, the greater purpose is to emphasize the significance of being proactive, vigilant, and supportive within the food allergy community. Our experiences, no matter how difficult, can potentially save a life. Let's stand strong together, advocating for awareness and understanding, and ultimately ensuring the safety and well-being of our loved ones with food allergies. Always carry your emergency meds, always carry your phone, and have a well-thought-out emergency plan.