29th April 2019 Friday Resus Ready First Aid Trivia

Can you use an expired EpiPen?

You are out to lunch with your friend. As she is eating her pasta salad you notice her eyes are getting puffy, her speech sounds weird as her lips and tongue become swollen. She tells you she has an allergy to peanuts but you don’t see any peanuts in her salad.

Your friend has an EpiPen in her bag and tells you to use it on her. When you check the EpiPen you notice it is expired.

For this weeks question…

Should you administer an expired EpiPen to your friend?


Option 1: No, it is expired and could do damage, you couldn’t see any nuts in her meal anyway


Option 2: Yes, it is an emergency


Results from the facebook poll are:

  • Option 1 – No, cause damage 0% 0%
  • Option 2 – Yes, emergency 100% 100%

WOW!!  100% say YES!  You will all be happy to know that you all answered correctly!  Yes, it is an emergency and it is ok to use an expired EpiPen if that is the only pen available.

An EpiPen is an adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector. EpiPen is a trademark name kind of like how Panadol is the trademark name for paracetamol.  In Australia it is the only type of adrenaline autoinjector used.  There was a shortage a couple of years ago where Anapens were introduced, these have since been discontinued although you may see a couple of them still in use until they expire. 


You can find the location of the expiry date on the side of the EpiPen. The adrenaline autoinjectors normally have a shelf life of around one to two years from date of manufacture. It is recommended that the expiry date is noted on a calendar and the device should be replaced BEFORE the expiry date.  Did you know that there is a reminder service available to notify you when your adrenaline autoinjector is due to expire.  You can register at www.epiclub.com.au 

Under the Pharmaceuticals Benifit Scheme (PBS) patients who are diagnosed to be at high risk for anaphylaxis can obtain 2 subsidised adrenaline autoinjectors at a time. Replacements can be issued for expired and used devices at the same discount rate.

If you don’t have anaphylaxis you are still able to purchase adrenaline autoinjectors at the pharmacy to place in your first aid kit however this is not discounted so you have to pay full price.



But there was no peanuts in her salad?? Why did she get such a severe allergic reaction??

For some people with allergies it may only take the smallest amount of the substance (allergen) to produce a very severe reaction.  In the case of our friend, maybe there was peanut residue on a knife used to cut her lettuce or on the chopping board or maybe the dressing contained peanut oil.  The allergen does not always need to be visable for it to have an effect.



Thanks for playing along and if you voted, congratulations on getting it right!

If you have never practiced using an adrenaline autoinjector before or need to update your information and certificates maybe you should attend one of my upcoming public first aid classes in Campbellfield and North Geelong.  We discuss anaphylaxis and how to safely use an adrenaline autoinjector click the BOOK A COURSE button below.  Or why not get some friends together and I can run an anaphylaxis specific course where you receive more detailed information and learn about indentifying, preventing and treating anaphylaxis (visit www.resusready.com.au/22300VIC for more information). 

Classes are fun and interactive and you leave with the confidence that you know what to do in an emergency.  And the best part is, that you don’t need any prior experience.  Contact me or use the book a course button below. 


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CPR and First Aid public courses are now available in North Geelong and Campbellfield.  Tap here to see our upcoming training dates and book in to a class.

No prior experience necessary.



Thank you to everyone who voted, if you would like to join in the next trivia poll,  like and follow www.facebook.com/resusready  


Have a question related to this weeks trivia, write it in the comments of the quiz post.

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