Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergic reaction and is potentially life-threatening. It must be treated as a medical emergency, requiring immediate treatment and urgent medical attention.
It is estimated that up to 2% of adults, 1 in 10 babies* and 6% of children have a food allergy and some of them will experience a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
Approximately 10 people die from anaphylactic reactions each year in Australia and some of these may have been triggered by food.
Adrenaline is the first line treatment for severe allergic reactions and can be administered via an auto-injector called the EpiPen®.
EPINEPHRINE IS SENSITIVE TO LIGHT AND EXTREME TEMPERATURES
According to the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy [ASCIA]:
Adrenaline (ephinephrine) autoinjectors (e.g. EpiPen) should ideally be stored in a cool dark place at room temperature, between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius.
They must not be refrigerated, as temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius may damage the autoinjector mechanism.
They should be stored in an insulated wallet if the temperature is warmer than 25 degrees Celsius or colder than 15 degrees Celsius, or if they are carried in a bag and subject to fluctuating temperatures.
Medication Cooler Pouch
A 2009 study of epinephrine stability under temperature stresses found that the medication degraded below effective levels after four months at high humidity and temperatures of 38°C (100 F). This is little more than the human body temperature the medication could be exposed to when stored in an uncooled waist pack.
Allergy &Anaphylaxis Australia
(“A&AA”) is a registered charity and Australia’s only national support organisation, dedicated to helping individuals and carers alike in managing allergy and anaphylaxis.
Allergy Facts website reports on Adrenaline and temperature control which states (Based on data available in 2010);
Many individuals, parents and caregivers are concerned about the stability of adrenaline in temperatures over 25°C. The Australian climate often takes us beyond 25°C and many have been contacting Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) with queries on maintaining temperature of the adrenaline autoinjector when they are away from home or when they work outside (e.g. farmer, postman or courier).
It is important to aim to keep your autoinjector between 15°C and 25°C most of the time.
Obviously, weather conditions in Australia are challenging but our aim is to minimise the amount of time that the device is outside these temperature ranges.
- Adrenaline is light sensitive and so potency (strength) may degrade if exposed to prolonged sun exposure.
- The ideal condition for storage is approximately 25°C however fluctuations of +/- 15°C (between 10°C and 40°C are permitted).
- Do NOT refrigerate or freeze as it can affect the mechanics of the autoinjector.
Helpful guidelines for temperature management of adrenaline autoinjector:
- Always keep your adrenaline autoinjector away from direct sunlight
- If outdoors on a hot day, try to keep it in the shade
- If you know you are going to be out in the sun for an extended time on a hot day (e.g. at the beach or at a sporting event, when working outside) consider purchasing a MED Bag which can help maintain the temperature of the autoinjector for up to 40 hours.
- Do NOT store your autoinjector in the glove box of your car
- Do keep it wherever you would prefer to be on a hot day i.e. inside the house, inside the classroom or office or in the shade if you are outside and there is no easily accessible indoor area to keep it
- Do NOT put it in the fridge, next to an ice pack or on ice although placed in a small esky with cool drinks can also help keep it cool on a very hot day
MEDICATION COOLER BAGS
Medication cooler bags are a range of advanced cooling pouches designed to keep medication such as insulin and the Epipen cool and safe from high temperatures. Once activated with water, the bags which contain a special crystal, will keep the contents of the bag below the safe temperature range of 28°C for up to 40 hours.
The pouch can be ‘reactivated’ to provide continuous safe storage conditions for subsequent periods of 40 hours for at least one year.
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