Richmond, VA (August 6, 2018) — Going to college for the first time is abound with many new experiences – new friends, new living arrangements, and a new lifestyle. For an incoming college student with a life-threatening allergy (LTA), new experiences mean new potential threats of a life-threatening reaction.
Some surveys suggest that college-aged students are not always fully prepared. A survey of adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 21 years old with a food allergy showed that 39 percent did not always carry epinephrine, and 38 percent did not have epinephrine during their last anaphylactic reaction.1
Additionally, in a survey published in 2009, 287 university students reported having an allergic reaction attributable to food, and only 21 percent of these students had self-injectable epinephrine at the time.2
With the start of the academic school year quickly approaching, Becky, whose son Andy has a severe allergy to peanuts and is applying to colleges for next year, reminds college students with LTAs to:
Refill your epinephrine auto-injector prescriptions
Refill your epinephrine auto-injector prescription, such as for AUVI-Q® (epinephrine injection, USP), an FDA-approved prescription medicine used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in people who are at risk for or have a history of serious allergic reactions. AUVI-Q is the first and only epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) with an auto-retractable needle and includes innovative features such as step-by-step voice instructions that guide the user through the administration of epinephrine during a life-threatening allergic emergency. Seek emergency medical attention after use, as AUVI-Q is not a substitute for immediate medical care.
Always avoid allergens
Wherever possible, avoid allergens. Read all product labels thoroughly when grocery shopping and before consuming any item. Major food allergens, such as peanuts, tree nuts and shell fish, are required by U.S. law to be listed on the product label.3
Know the symptoms of anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially fatal allergic reaction. It can occur as a result of exposure to allergens including food such as peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, soy and wheat; insect stings or bites; latex and medication, among other allergens and causes. Common signs and symptoms include red rash, swollen throat or areas of the body, wheezing, passing out, chest tightness, trouble breathing, hoarse voice, trouble swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, or pale or red color to the face and body.4
Always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors
As part of your emergency action plan that includes understanding anaphylaxis and recognizing its signs and symptoms, have access to two epinephrine auto-injectors, and seek emergency medical care should a reaction occur.
Communicate with relevant college staff to make advance preparations
For those who have life-threatening allergies, it is important to over-communicate with relevant staff who will help guide you to locate foods that don’t include allergens. Be sure to work with your college’s dining services and health care centers and/or resident advisor (RA) as appropriate. Some schools have nut-free areas, while many label food ingredients.
Prepare an Emergency Care Plan
Prepare an emergency care plan. Share it with those you interact with at college, including your RA, roommates and friends. While you’re at it, teach a few people how to administer your epinephrine auto-injector, in the event of an allergic emergency in which you are unable to self-administer.
Be prepared and do your research
While being away from home and adjusting to college life with a life-threatening allergy can be difficult, with the proper preparation, college students can effectively manage their life-threatening allergies while having a true college experience. All colleges are different with allergy policies, so doing your homework is also important. To learn more about how to be prepared for college with a life-threatening allergy, and to learn more about AUVI-Q, visit https://www.auvi-q.com/resources.
AUVI-Q® (epinephrine injection, USP) is a prescription medicine used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in people who are at risk for or have a history of serious allergic reactions.
Important Safety Information
AUVI-Q is for immediate self (or caregiver) administration and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Seek immediate medical treatment after using AUVI-Q. Each AUVI-Q contains a single dose of epinephrine. AUVI-Q should only be injected into your outer thigh, through clothing if necessary. If you inject a young child or infant with AUVI-Q, hold their leg firmly in place before and during the injection to prevent injuries. Do not inject AUVI-Q into any other part of your body, such as into veins, buttocks, fingers, toes, hands, or feet. If this occurs, seek immediate medical treatment and make sure to inform the healthcare provider of the location of the accidental injection. Only a healthcare provider should give additional doses of epinephrine if more than two doses are necessary for a single allergic emergency.
Rarely, patients who use AUVI-Q may develop infections at the injection site within a few days of an injection. Some of these infections can be serious. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms at an injection site: redness that does not go away, swelling, tenderness, or the area feels warm to the touch.
If you have certain medical conditions, or take certain medicines, your condition may get worse or you may have more or longer lasting side effects when you use AUVI-Q. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, especially medicines for asthma. Also tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, especially if you have asthma, a history of depression, thyroid problems, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart problems or high blood pressure, have any other medical conditions, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Epinephrine should be used with caution if you have heart disease or are taking certain medicines that can cause heart-related (cardiac) symptoms.
Common side effects include fast, irregular or ‘pounding’ heartbeat, sweating, shakiness, headache, paleness, feelings of over excitement, nervousness, or anxiety, weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, or breathing problems. These side effects usually go away quickly, especially if you rest. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
Please see the full Prescribing Information and the Patient Information.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
1. Sampson, M.A., Munoz-Furlong, A., Sicherer, S.H. Risk-taking and coping strategies of adolescents and young adults with food allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006;117:1440–1445.
2. Greenhawt, M.J., Singer, A.M., Baptist, A.P. Food allergy and food allergy attitudes among college students. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009;124:323–327.
3. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). Tips for Avoiding Your Allergen. Retrieved from https://www.foodallergy.org/sites/default/files/migrated-files/file/Tips-for-Avoiding-Your-Allergen—English.pdf [Retrieved July 2018]
4. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Anaphylaxis. Retrieved from https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/anaphylaxis [Retrieved July 2018]