Back to School: Carrying your EpiPen® or Anapen®

As the summer holidays draw to a close – groans – you need to start thinking about how you are going to carry and store your adrenaline injectors (EpiPen® or Anapen®) at school.

Perhaps you’re returning to high school and have some idea of what works best, but some are still figuring it all out. Or maybe you’re about to enter Year 7, and making the transition from primary school to high school. Either way, it’s important you get your head around how you are going to carry your adrenaline injectors (EpiPen® or Anapen®) over the next year, and for the years to come.

High school is quite different to primary. You’re no longer stationed in the one classroom. You’ll have a number of different teachers as well as different classmates. It can be hard to know where you should keep your adrenaline injectors.

Most schools recommend that you keep one adrenaline injector in the school office (or nurse’s station) along with a copy of your ASCIA Action Plan. You’ll need to remember to take your EpiPen® or Anapen® into the office at the beginning of each term and collect it again at the end so that you have it during school holidays.

So, what do you do with your other adrenaline injector? Well, you need to carry it on you at all times. Okay okay, that sounds obvious doesn’t it? But the reality is, a lot of teens don’t carry their adrenaline injector or they leave them somewhere that is not easily accessible (ie, their locker).

Helpful ideas you should consider for storing your adrenaline injectors at school:

  • Tell a few friends in each of your classes where they can find your EpiPen® or Anapen®. You should also tell each of your teachers.
  • Get a bright coloured pouch to keep your EpiPen® or Anapen® in. It will help you, your friends and/or teachers find your medication in an emergency.
  • Keep your EpiPen® or Anapen® in a designated section of your school bag. Maybe your bag has a front or side pocket that your EpiPen® or Anapen® will fit nicely into.
  • Invest in an isothermic pouch for summer. Adrenaline can become less effective over time if exposed to temperatures above 25°C. For more information about adrenaline and temperature control click here. The pouch keeps contents at an accepted temperature for up to five days.
  • If you keep your EpiPen® or Anapen® in your school bag, you should not leave your bag outside the classroom jumbled with other bags. In an emergency, people will need to get to your adrenaline injector and ASCIA Action Plan quickly. This is one case where a no bag in classroom rule can be broken (with a quick conversation explaining why!!)

These are all easy, and practical steps that you can take to help manage your allergy and keep yourself safe at school.

A note on storing your EpiPen® or Anapen® in a locker: (please) DON’T.

Delayed administration of adrenaline has unfortunately been a major contributing factor in anaphylaxis fatalities. This is why it’s so important that you keep your adrenaline injector (s) with you during class/lunch. Do not leave it locked away in your locker. If you regularly leave your school bag in your locker, make sure you take your EpiPen® or Anapen® out, and put them in a pouch that you take with you to each of your classes. A dedicated pencil case would be perfect.