In the midst of some recent and confusing health symptoms, I stumbled upon a doctor who was known to be one of the best allergist in the area. I quickly got an appointment to see him, yet honestly wasn't expecting to learn too much from this appointment. It was just another area of medicine to check of my list.
He ran routine allergy test, just as I expected. However, the results were nothing what I expected.
"You're not going to like this", the nurse said as she checked on me half way through my scratch test.
"How bad could it really be? I thought to myself, as things such as a gluten intolerence or maybe even a dairy allergy crossed my mind.
Needless to say, the nurse had a whole long lists of foods that I could no longer enjoy.
The results really didn't seem to process at first. He told me that I most definitely needed to start carrying an EPI pen with me at all times and that I needed to revamp my eating life style. I think I left the office dumbfounded. I barely asked any questions about how all these allergies could just suddenly appear out of the blue. These were the foods that I ate every single day, and now I am allergic to them?
Within a few weeks, my entire diet was different and I was trying to get a true grasp of the things I could, in fact, eat. For the most part, if it was processed, I couldn't have it. It was pretty challenging at first to say the least, but after a while I kind of got used my new diet.
I put off picking up my EPI pen until just about a month later. I downed one of my favorite snacks, not realizing that the slight change in brand would cause me to have a reaction. The product had many fillers within it, and many of them are the items in which I'm allergic to. Needless to say, after a big scare and two bendryl later, I finally decided that I should pick up my EPI pen from the pharmacy.
The very next day, I received a phone call from my local pharmacy, thinking that the woman on the phone was just calling to tell me that I had something that was ready to pick up. Instead, she called to tell me that they couldn't fill my EPI pen prescription because they didn't have any. Confused, I asked her why this was.
"Well, we are on a national shortage", she replied.
"National shortage?" I thought. "Why don't they just make more?"
I now know how incredibly naive that sounds.
Starting back in May, the United States declared an EPI Pen shortage due to many different factors. According to some research, the pharmaceutical companies that make EPI pens have experienced some manufacturing delays, which have made the product almost impossible to find. In addition to this issue, the EPI pen only has a shelf life of about 18 months, which means the product has to be used relatively soon after being manufactured. EPI pens are also highly sensitive. They can easily rust and expire if exposed to certain forms of light, heat, and even air pressure.
It is a truly mind-blowing thought that a product that so many Americans rely on is so underproduced. It's scary to think that in a life-or-death situation, someone could potentially be without a life saving product just because of shelf life and production issues. It is truly iso important that American's are informed about this nation wide problem, and that we are even more cautious then before, when dealing with those with allergies.