Wherever we go, we have EpiPens in tow. Epinephrine is a food allergic individual's first line of defense during a severe allergic reaction. The failure to administer (or even the delay of administering) epinephrine could be a death sentence. That is scary stuff. So how do we carry the most valuable thing we own, that which could save our child's life at any given minute? I will tell you!
Let me start off by saying that I am a natural researcher. I am a lawyer by trade so I picked up the ins and outs of conducting research during three grueling years of law school, and becoming a food allergy mom has just refined my skills even more. A few months ago I read a quote that I thought was incredibly fitting for parents of food allergic children - "Food allergy moms do more research than the FBI." This statement could not be more true. I don't think there could be anything more fierce than a mom trying to protect her children. This instinct becomes a part of your every day life when you have a child with food allergies.
Carrying epinephrine is one of the most basic and vital ways that I can protect my daughter. So of course, I treat it with care and with the utmost respect. Epinephrine is fragile, and you must handle it with care. I soon learned after it was prescribed to my daughter that it cannot be exposed to direct light for long periods of time. It cannot withstand extreme temperatures, and it is not resistant to bumps and bruises (aka, being dropped on the floor by a toddler, such as my own). You also want it to be accessible and easy to find in the event of an emergency, so throwing the two pens in my purse as I walked out the door every day was not a viable option. I knew after we picked up my daughter's EpiPens at the pharmacy for the first time that I needed to buy a carrying case. And so began my research.
The first resource I tapped into was the No Nuts Moms Group. It is an amazing community of food allergic parents and the group has a Facebook page where members post questions, give advice and offer support to one another. I simply asked what other parents use and boy, did I get a response! I think I got about 30 comments giving me ideas for cases. I also searched the web on my own and read countless reviews. I made a list of all the different cases that were out there and started to narrow down my options based on my required case criteria:
1. The case needed to block out light.
2. The case needed to provide some sort of insulation and/or padding.
3. The case needed to be big enough to fit two EpiPens, a bottle of Benadryl with a dropper, and an allergy action plan card.
4. The case needed to be easily identifiable among other items in a backpack, purse or diaper bag.
Surprisingly, finding a case that fit all of my criteria was really hard! At one point, I decided I was going to invent and make my own! I ordered cases from a few different companies, sent a few back, and kept a few. Ultimately, I settled on two cases and am very happy with both. We use one while out and about and one at home.
The first is made by KozyEpi and we take it everywhere we go! It is easily identifiable and the front of the case is made of neoprene so it provides some insulation and padding while blocking out light. I found that the Quattro pouch holds two EpiPens, a full-size bottle of Benadryl with a dropper and an allergy action plan card perfectly. It is just what I was looking for. The website states that the Trio pouch holds this much but I found it to be too snug a fit. The Quattro is just right.
The second, I purchased on the FARE website. This one is also easily identifiable, fits the EpiPens, Benadryl with dropper and allergy action plan card. It is not insulated or padded at all though so we keep this case at home.
I would have ordered the KoziEpi case for the home as well but it is pretty pricey ($45). The case I got from FARE was much cheaper and I decided it wasn't as important to have the at-home case insulated or padded.
I am a planner and like being prepared. Finding a proper epinephrine carrying case may seem like a small or trivial task but it gives me comfort to know that we have all of my daughter's medication in one place and in that place it is protected, stored properly, and easy to identify. When dealing with life-threatening food allergies, that is a very welcome comfort.