Thursday, 21 December 2017

Availability of Adrenaline Auto-injectors in Public Places

Recently there has been a great deal of media in the UK surrounding AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) being kept throughout different public places within the UK. There are many points throughout the UK such as train stations, shopping centres, airports etc. where many members of the public will pass through on a daily basis which are keeping an AED to hand. The hope is that having them readily available in public places where anyone is able to access and use them when required will reduce the likelihood of a fatality occurring when someone goes into suspected cardiac arrest. It means that when there is a wait for emergency service personnel to arrive someone who is suffering from a cardiac arrest can still have access to help which may in turn save their life. This is a great initiative which will hopefully go on to help many people.

Just like an AED has the potential to save a person who has gone into cardiac arrest's life an adrenaline auto-injector has the potential to save a person who is suffering from an anaphylactic (severe allergic) reaction's life. Whilst people who live with anaphylaxis or who are at risk of suffering anaphylaxis are usually prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector there are numerous situations which may arouse where a person may not have an adrenaline auto-injector to hand if they go into anaphylaxis (or they may require another adrenaline auto-injector before help has arrived) when they are out in public, these include (but aren't limited to):

  • The adrenaline auto-injector they have prescribed is faulty 
  • The adrenaline auto-injector they have prescribed is misfired 
  • They do not start to feel better within 5-15 minutes after their adrenaline auto-injector has been given and help has not arrived yet 
  • They have forgotten their adrenaline auto-injector at home 
  • They do not have a prescribed adrenaline auto-injector 
  • They do not carry their prescribed adrenaline auto-injector with them as they have never suffered from a severe allergic reaction before 
  • Their adrenaline auto-injector wears off after being given and symptoms reoccur before help arrives
Chloe Marsden, who suffers with allergies and anaphylaxis herself and carries adrenaline auto-injectors, set up a petition after being inspired by AEDs being available in public places to attempt to get adrenaline auto-injectors become available in public places alongside AEDs. Chloe wrote:

"With knowing how important and life saving adrenaline pens are though past and present experiences myself If I hadn't had my pen with me it could of been different, so what I'm asking you to do is change the law, with potentially life threatening allergic reactions on the rise safety is paramount." 

She explained her reasoning behind setting up her campaign is: 

"The reason I want adrenaline pens to be available in public and food places, one; i'm aiming to ask to help reduce the stigma of not carrying life saving adrenaline pens, two; we all forget the importance of things, three; if your newly diagnosed you won't always get an adrenaline pen straight away. Finally social awareness is needed along aside, training first aiders to administer adrenaline pens. This simple procedure could save many lives." (Petitions UK Government and Parliament, 2017)

There have been many advancements in increasing the likelihood that a person suffering from anaphylaxis will survive. Examples of such advancements are: 

  • Schools within the UK are now able to purchase spare adrenaline pens to keep within the school for use on pupils who either suffer with or are at risk of anaphylaxis, who have a written care plan for anaphylaxis management, who have their own adrenaline auto-injectors prescribed and available within school and also who have parental permission for an adrenaline auto-injector to be used within school (Gov.UK, 2017)
  • Restaurants and takeaways in the UK must now declare if their food contains any of the EU top 14 allergens (cereals containing gluten in particular wheat, rye, barley and oats; crustaceans; eggs; fish; peanuts; soyabeans; milk; tree nuts; celery; mustard; sesame; sulphur dioxide/sulphites; lupin and molluscs), they either have to have it readily available to the consumer in either written form or be able to give verbal confirmation about which allergens their food does or does not contain (Food Standards Agency, 2014)
  • Since 2012 new legislation was introduced which in turn means that anyone, no matter if they are trained in administering adrenaline pens or not, can administer an adrenaline pen to another person provided they are doing so to save their life, legislation before 2012 stated that the person administering the adrenaline pen had to be appropriately trained in doing so before they were permitted to administer it (, 2012)
Providing adrenaline auto-injectors in public places would be a great addition to increasing allergy awareness and would provide more reassurance as well as educating members of the general public more on allergies and anaphylaxis. It also has the potential to decrease the number of fatalities that are the result of anaphylaxis. 

For more information and to sign Chloe's petition please visit:

Reference list

Food Standards Agency (2014) Rules and Legislation (Accessed 22nd December 2017) Available at <>
Gov.UK (2017) Using emergency adrenaline auto-injectors in schools (Accessed 22nd December 2017) Available at <> (2012) The Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (Accessed 22nd December 2017) Available at <>
Petitions UK Government and Parliament (2017) Adrenaline Pens to be Available in Public and Food Places. Social Awareness (Accessed 22nd December 2017) Available at <>

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