EpiPen Use Procedure

An EpiPen is a single use, automated shot containing Epinephrine. Epinephrine is required when an individual is exposed to an allergen (such as food, insect sting or bites, or some drugs) and experiences anaphylaxis. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) defines anaphylaxis as, “an acute, life-threatening reaction with various triggers, presentations, and severities” and estimates that 1 in 50 Americans are impacted by anaphylaxis1. Below the basic signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis are identified, along with steps for administering an epinephrine shot using an EpiPen.

Anaphylaxis Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms can occur rapidly after an individual is exposed to one or more allergens and may include:

  • Swelling
  • Hives
  • Tightening or tingling in throat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Rapid Heart Beat
  • Cardiac Arrest

If any individual is experiencing these symptoms, immediately ask if they have any known allergies. If they answer yes, ask if they are carrying an EpiPen and call 911. If they answer no, call 911 immediately.

EpiPen Use

  1. Confirm the individual is suffering from anaphylaxisAsk the individual if they have any known allergies
    • Has the individual experienced recent exposure to an allergen
  2. EpiPen in hand, remove the plastic carrying case
  3. Next, remove the blue safety cap from the EpiPen by pulling up
  4. Push the orange tip of the EpiPen into the individual’s upper thigh until the device clicks
    • Note, an EpiPen shot may be administered through clothing (including jeans)
  5. Hold the EpiPen in place for 10 seconds
  6. Once complete, carefully return the EpiPen to the plastic carrying case (needle point down) and secure
  7. Note the time the epinephrine was administered
  8. Call 911
  9. Notify the 911 dispatcher and first responders that an EpiPen has been administered and the time it was administered

For additional information, please review this training video provided by the EpiPen manufacturer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd4h3mUC8Jc.


1http://www.aafa.org/media/Anaphylaxis-in-America-Letter-to-Editor.pdf