Having a severe allergic reaction can quickly turn into a life-threatening situation if an epinephrine EpiPen isn’t accessible — a scenario Cole Harbour Place is looking to avoid.
One of those potentially life-threatening situations played out at the community centre when a seven-year-old boy ate a cookie containing peanuts.
“It’s really scary, I mean even as a health-care professional, if I don’t have it with me I want to know that it’s there,” said Kelly Dunfield, a nurse practitioner from Sussex, New Brunswick.
Shortly after the boy ate the cookie and began to have a reaction, his sister alerted the cafeteria owner, who also happens to be a volunteer firefighter.
“I asked where his EpiPen was and it couldn’t be found. I immediately got on the phone with 911 and the situation got stressful because his throat was quickly closing up,” Wayne Green said.
During the 911 call, the EpiPen was found and the boy recovered from the reaction shortly after the epinephrine dose was administered.
If a similar emergency happens again, the recreation centre now has a new system in place that will make the response process much less stressful — an alarmed cabinet with epinephrine auto-injectors.
“The auto-injector sites save lives the same way an AED does,” Dunfield said.
The cabinets store an adult and child’s dose of epinephrine and there’s almost 30 New Brunswick facilities that have them.
Dunfield created the sites so that in the event of an emergency, people know where to go if an EpiPen isn’t readily available.
It’s a “mind easer” that is is being welcomed with open arms by staff at Cole Harbour Place.
“It just gives you that extra confidence and knowing those EpiPens are going to be available to us is huge.”
Cole Harbour Place is the first Nova Scotia location to install the epinephrine auto-injector sites.