New tool can protect you from allergy attacks
Updated On: Apr 07 2013 08:59:54 PM EDT
Hundreds of people die from fatal allergy reactions each year, from the smallest things, like peanuts or bug bites.
Things get really bad when you go into anaphylactic shock. Your throat closes up, and you can barely breathe.
That's why several children at the Ladybird Academy in Orlando carry portable medicine injectors, called EpiPens.
"Usually if the allergic reaction is that extreme, they need that right away," says Jennifer Mathews, the director at that child care center.
The EpiPen works quickly, opening up your airway. But some say the directions are complex, with lines and lines of small text, crammed together.
"In the heat of things, probably if your adrenaline is going, it might be a little much to stop and read the directions and then administer that to a child," says Mathews.
That's why Mathews is impressed by a much smaller injector that just hit the market, called the Auvi-Q, which talks to you -- giving you verbal commands, and taking you step-by-step through the process of giving an injection.
"Even if you had never done it before, or if it was someone who had never received any type of training, it's basically fool proof," says Mathews.
And that's important because we found that nearly a though students in Orange and Seminole counties need to carry and injector with them at all times.
"If you don't have this, then you could be in danger," says Dr. Jeff Baylor, a specialist at the Ear, Nose, Throat & Plastic Surgery Associates in Winter Park.
Dr. Baylor now recommends that Auvi-Q to his patients, saying it can give everyone from co-workers, to teachers, to parents the power to save a life in a split-second.
"If you hand this to somebody next to you, they should be able to, just by listening to it and going with the instructions, be able to give you an injection," says Dr. Baylor.
Besides the voice commands, patients like Diane Shurm, who's carried an EpiPen with her for years, loves the Auvi-Q, because of its size.
"It's smaller than a cell phone, you can stick it in your pocket, stick it in your purse," says Shurm. "You don't have to worry about thinking about what you have to do, cause you're already thinking, 'I can't breathe,'"
Keep in mind the injectors only give temporary relief. You need to get to the hospital within a half-hour of injecting yourself, or your throat could close up again.
As for the price -- right now, the Auvi-Q costs around $200. And we're told - because it's so new, most insurance plans only cover some of that cost. But that could change as more people use it.