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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new study suggests many kids with severe, potentially deadly allergies are not getting the medication they need right away.

Maya Alony never leaves her house without her EpiPen.

“My main allergies are peanuts, nuts, avocado and cherries,” Alony said, “those are my like deathly allergies.”

The 18-year-old has had several life threatening reactions known as anaphylaxis and has had to inject herself.

“I was like 15, so I was really scared,” Alony said.

But many kids prescribed epinephrine do not get this medication as soon as they need it. A new study looked at about 400 children who went to the ER or urgent care for anaphylaxis. Less than half had been given epinephrine before they arrived even though many had a history of anaphylaxis.

“We want to prevent anaphylaxis from escalating. Epinephrine auto injectors are the drug of choice,” said ACAAI spokesperson Dr. Clifford Bassett. “Antihistamines can be used, however, they are not the drug of choice and they are not reliable to prevent anaphylaxis.”

One-third of patients prescribed epinephrine in the study did not have their injectors when they had their allergic reaction.

“Patients that did not use it before the urgent care visit when it was necessary were more likely to be admitted or stay in the emergency room,” Dr. Bassett said.

Alony had a severe reaction once and didn’t have her medication with her.

“Ever since that happened I have kept in my bag,” she said. “It’s life or death.”

And she says nobody should be afraid to use it.

Allergists say an action plan should be in place so patients and loved ones know exactly what to do in the event of a severe allergic reaction.


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