Using your EpiPen®

When to use an EpiPen

Knowing how and when to use the EpiPen is something many people struggle with.

If you are experiencing one or more of the following signs of anaphylaxis — use your EpiPen.

  • Difficult/noisy breathing
  • Swelling of tongue
  • Swelling/tightness in throat
  • Difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
  • Wheeze or persistent cough
  • Persistent dizziness or collapse
  • Pale and floppy (young children)

Using an EpiPen is your best chance of reversing anaphylaxis.

Used your EpiPen — what’s next?

Lay still.
Don’t walk or stand.

If you’re finding it hard to breathe, sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you.

Call an ambulance (dial 000). Tell them you’re having an anaphylaxis and have been given the EpiPen.

Remember, you can use a second EpiPen after 5 minutes if you still feel faint or have difficulty breathing.

Go to the hospital by ambulance.
Don’t walk to the ambulance — ask for a stretcher.

Stay under observation for at least 4 hours. Some people feel better but suddenly become unwell again. This is called a ‘biphasic reaction’

Before leaving hospital, get a prescription for a new EpiPen and stay with family or friends for the next day or two.

Once recovered, go and see your allergist to discuss the cause of your reaction and how you managed the emergency.

Carry the kit

Handbags, man bags, school bags or small backpacks are great ways to carry your EpiPen and ASCIA Action Plan.

Or you can buy a waist belt for under your shirt, or a leg holster for around your ankle.

This short but graphic video shows a teenage girl who chooses not to take her EpiPen when she goes out with friends. This video may be distressing for some people. You might want to watch this video with a family member or friend.

Need help?

If you need help, contact one of the organisations below:

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia

  • Phone 1300 728 000
    This support line is NOT an emergency helpline. Please call 000 for an ambulance in an emergency.
  • Send an email