Posted by: balzaccom

Epipen - 04/25/16 11:30 AM

We've added one more item to our first aid kit for backpacking, but it's not something we suggest for everyone. As you may know, I am an avid cyclist. I try to ride just about every day for 15+ miles, and have regularly ridden over 5,000 miles a year.

But over the past few years, I've been stung by bees a few times, and each time the reaction to the sting has become more pronounced. The last time I was stung, about month ago, it was on the thigh, and my entire thigh swelled up to about 150% of it's normal size., and growing.

That's when I decided it was worth going to the doctor about this. The doctor prescribed some massive dosages of prednisone, and then asked me what I liked to do for fun. When I mentioned backpacking, the doc immediately prescribed a couple of epipens. He was concerned that if I were stung near my head by a bee, the reaction could easily prevent me from breathing, and I'd would be far from medical help. There's a happy thought.

So we've added this to our FAK for in the mountains, even though it adds a few ounces to our packs. Wonder if there is an ultralight version?
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: Epipen - 04/25/16 12:51 PM

I've never seen an epipen in person. Is it just a syringe pre-filled with epinephrine? It's hard to imagine getting much lighter than that.
Posted by: dzierzak

Re: Epipen - 04/26/16 12:12 PM

An EpiPen is a pre-loaded autoinjector. Just open and jam into the thigh (hold it in for a few seconds).


No ultralight versions that I know of.

Antihistamines are a helpful follow-up.
Posted by: Ewker

Re: Epipen - 04/27/16 10:19 AM

We carry 2 EpiPens with us whenever we go backpacking, day hiking or even in the backyard. While backpacking you can get stung then use the EpiPen but what happens if the next day you get stung again. Yes it is slim chance but better safe than sorry.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Epipen - 05/04/16 02:51 PM

I've read (and was told in my Wilderness First Aid class) that epipens are not a good idea for us older folk as they can easily trigger heart attacks. I would consult your physician and not plan to use the pen on anyone except yourself. There's lots of liability, and possible criminal prosecution, involved in giving medication, especially prescription medication, to another person, unless you're a medically trained person licensed to administer such drugs.
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Epipen - 05/05/16 09:30 AM

OM--the epipen was prescribed AFTER a consultation with my doctor...
Posted by: Zuuk

Re: Epipen - 05/10/16 12:22 PM

One thing I was told is that the Epipen will not help in the long run with an allergic reaction. It gives you a shot of epinephrine which is like a shot of adrenaline (basically same thing) that will increase heart rate, muscle strength and blood pressure. This will help counteract an allergic reaction, but really only gives you time to get the antihistamine needed for the reaction.

I know some people that carry them because a bee sting will block their airway in well under a minute. After that, they need to get antihistamines into them or else they will start to swell up again in about 30 minutes after taking the Epipen.

I have an allergy to bee & wasp stings, but it's not major enough to carry an Epipen. I do carry Benadryl on me, so if I get stung, I immediately take 2 pills which works for me.

Best advice is to go with what a doctor says. I know I just wouldn't trust an Epipen alone; I would need the antihistamines with it.
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Epipen - 05/10/16 01:58 PM

That's exactly what my doctor prescribed:

1st take the Benadryl.

Then take a Zirtec for longer relief.

Then take Prednisone for longer term reduction of swelling.

If at any point you notice the symptoms of anaphylaxis, inject with the epipen. And be prepared to do that twice after the first one wears off.

And get to medical attention ASAP. Which might be a bit of a challenge 18 miles into a backpacking trip...
Posted by: BZH

Re: Epipen - 10/19/16 07:18 PM

I know this is an old thread... but I just wanted to relay my recent experiences.

I recently took the NOLS Wilderness First Aid Course (great class, I highly recommend it!). Apparently California has just become one of the few states in the country that have a certification process so that people with fairly limited medical training can get a prescription for an Epipen (for use on others). The NOLS course here in California included that training.

The idea is that most poeple's first time experiencing anaphylaxis do not have an epipen available (duh!). When your in a wilderness environment this could be a serious issue. The state is trying to get more epipens into a wider range of places. Great idea imho. Of course Epipen's manufacturer is trying to cash in at the same time and the cost has sky rocketed recently ($50 to $750).

I was pretty sure I wasn't going to spend $750 for a drug I probably will never use and expires in 1 year, but I liked the idea so I submitted my application to the State of California (and $15 fee). I don't think NOLS is aware, but in addition to the epipen training and first aid training (WFA course meets that requirement), you need CPR training (which the WFA class did not include).

Great idea, but unfortunately I won't be carrying an Epipen around in the wilderness with me....