Any child at risk for anaphylaxis from a food allergy needs to have epinephrine auto injectors on hand at all times. You, your child, teachers, babysitters, siblings and other people who are around your child every day need to know how to use this life-saving medicine. This means that you need to have injectors stored at home, with your child, at school and in any other location where your child spends time. It’s not just crucial to have injectors available and to know how to use them; it is also important that they are stored correctly so that the medicine will always work when you really need it.
The Importance of Epinephrine Storage Temperature
One of the most important considerations in how you store your epinephrine auto injectors in order to ensure they will always work is temperature. Manufacturers say that the injectors need to be stored at a temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal epinephrine storage temperature, but a range between 59 and 86 degrees is considered acceptable.
The acceptable temperature range is reasonable for most people in most climates. If your child’s injector is being stored at home, at school, at a camp or at another location, it should not be difficult to keep it in a location that does not go above or beyond these temperatures. There are a few places where some people mistakenly store injectors that can dip well above or below the acceptable temperature range, like a refrigerator or a car’s glove box.
Injectors are not cheap, so should you throw one away if you accidentally left it in a hot car or in the refrigerator for a day or less? According to the experts, there is no definitive answer to this question. Not much research has investigated the question, but one study did find that one night of storage at a temperature that is too high or too low is probably fine and you shouldn’t need to throw out the injector. An exception to this would be if the medication in the injector froze. If this happens, dispose of the injector and get a new one.
Epinephrine Storage Temperature Is Just One Important Consideration
Epinephrine storage temperature is an important requirement for keeping your child’s injectors in good working order, but there are other considerations too. For example, epinephrine deteriorates quickly when exposed to light. Your injectors should be kept out of light when stored and should always stay in their carriers when not being used. This deterioration is indicated by color change. Inspect your injectors regularly to be sure they have not turned pink or brown or to be sure that there is no particulate matter in the injector. These are signs that the medicine will no longer be effective.
You should also be sure that your child’s injectors are stored somewhere safe from tampering. A tamper evident container will ensure that you or another adult will know if your child’s medicine has been handled or tampered with and may not be effective any longer. The location should be easily accessible for anyone who needs to use it, but generally out of range of other children and anyone who should not have access to injectors.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do in storing your child’s injectors, besides ensuring that the epinephrine storage temperature is appropriate, is to check on them regularly. No matter where you have them stocked, at school, at home and elsewhere, inspect the injectors once a month to make sure they have not expired, deteriorated or been tampered with. If you see anything at all that looks off, replace the injector so that you can be sure your child always has quick access to an injector with working medicine. Your vigilance and precautions could save his or her life one day.