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Would you know how to save a life?

Queensland Health has launched a new social media campaign for Queenslanders on how to use an EpiPen.

Deputy Director General of Clinical Excellence Queensland Dr John Wakefield said more than 6,700 people were admitted to hospital last year for treatment for an allergy related condition.

“Allergies come in all shapes and forms and can develop at any stage of life,” Dr Wakefield said.

“Some people may only get a mild reaction but some reactions can very quickly become life-threatening – and it is important to know what signs to look out for.

“Dizziness, swelling of the tongue or throat, difficulty talking or a hoarse voice, difficulty breathing, noisy breathing or wheezing or a persistent cough are some symptoms that could mean anaphylaxis which is a severe allergic reaction.

“Someone experiencing a severe allergic reaction requires an injection of adrenaline via an EpiPen and emergency medical treatment.”

Dr Wakefield said if you think someone around you is having a severe allergic reaction, call Triple zero (000) immediately and administer the person’s EpiPen if available.

“An EpiPen is a pre-loaded syringe that injects a single dose of adrenaline used to treat allergic emergencies,” Dr Wakefield said.

“It relaxes the muscles in the airways, stomach, intestines and bladder and reverses rapid and dangerous decreases in blood pressure.

“When using an EpiPen remember 'blue to the sky, orange to the thigh'."

Before administering an EpiPen there are a few key things to remember like double checking the expiry date and ensuring the liquid is still clear Dr Wakefield said.

“If the liquid is discoloured in the EpiPen then you should discard and use an alternative device,” Dr Wakefield said.

“Then hold the EpiPen firmly at right angle to the outer thigh of patient - with the blue cap facing the sky – remove the blue safety cap by pulling straight up to trigger the device.

“Never place thumb, fingers or hand over the orange end as this contains the needle.

“Push the orange end firmly into the mid-outer thigh until you hear a click and keep pressing the EpiPen firmly against the patient’s thigh for 3 seconds.

“An EpiPen may be used either through the clothing or directly on to skin.

“Then remove the EpiPen from the patient’s thigh and the orange needle cover will automatically extend to cover the injection needle.

“Dispose of the EpiPen immediately into a sharps container.”

If you think someone is having a severe allergic reaction you should:
1. Lay the person flat and raise their legs if possible.
2. Administer the adrenaline autoinjector or EpiPen.
3. Call 000 and ask for an ambulance
4. Call the person’s emergency contact
5. If after five minutes the person is not responding or the reaction in worsening, administer a second adrenaline autoinjector if available.


Media Contact: 07 3708 5376

Last updated: 5 June 2019