Prepare For An Allergy
Emergency In 3 Steps


Dr. Christina Ciacco is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Chicago and a faculty member in the Section of Allergy/Immunology.  

Dr. Christina Ciacco is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Chicago and a faculty member in the Section of Allergy/Immunology.  


The news of a food allergy-related death shocks us to our core. First and foremost, our hearts break open for those families.  The news of anyone losing their life too soon, most recently Oakley Debbs, painfully reminds us of our worst fear. Soon after, we naturally seek to know how it happened in order to ensure it never happens again.

Our research shows that the majority of food allergic related deaths have occurred because either the auto-injector was not present or it was not used early enough.  These tragic events are invariably accidents but accidents do happen in life and you need to be prepared.

A person with a mild allergy should be just as vigilant. According to Dr. Christina Ciacco with the University of Chicago, past reactions are not an indicator of future reactions. So even if prior reactions have been mild, future reactions have the equal potential to be severe. Don't let your guard down.

We honor Oakley by promoting awareness. Here is what you need to know.  

How To Be Prepared

3 Vital Steps

1. Learn how to use an auto-injector

2. Have an auto-injector with you at all times 

3. Have an emergency action plan

Learn How to Use an Auto-Injector

It is critical to know how to use an auto-injector. Spokin's video helps you learn in less than a minute. Share our video to teach anyone who cares for your food allergic family member or for anyone who needs a refresher.

We asked Dr. Ciaccio, if there was any risk to using an epinephrine auto-injector, particularly on a child. Her answer was a resounding NO! "Epinephrine auto-injectors have an incredible safety record, and you will never be faulted for using one. If you're not sure whether to use it or not, the answer is 'use it' and get to the ER."

Practice administering the auto-injector by using the trainer, a needle-less version, included with every purchase or refill.

Spokin Tip: Save expired and unused EpiPens and practice using them on oranges.  This will provide insight to the amount of pressure required to use and increase your comfort level if you need to administer one in an emergency.

Have an auto-injector with you at all times

The drug in the auto-injectors is Epinephrine. Epinephrine is adrenaline and it relieves severe symptoms. 

You should always carry 2 auto-injectors in the event anything goes wrong with the first needle and because 1 in 5 reactions require a second dose of Epinephrine due to severity.


Have an Emergency Action Plan

An emergency action or care plan is a document that should be filled out by your allergist. Share it with anyone responsible for the care of the food allergic person.  The plan is critical because it will:

βœ”οΈ Identify allergens

βœ”οΈ Describe symptoms

βœ”οΈ Detail treatments for each type of reaction, mild and severe, including a different treatment for a combination of mild symptoms.

Download Emergency Action Plan

Spokin Tip: A recent addition to the emergency action plan is the option to instruct that the auto-injector is administered immediately if the allergen was definitely eaten, even if no symptoms are apparent. This is an important decision to make that you should discuss with your doctor.

Please share and please be prepared.

Related Spokin Content:

How to Read Labels

Learning how to read a food label to avoid your allergen is essential to eating safely. This vital skill isn't only for the newly diagnosed as label reading never ends.