A comprehensive new training course for understanding and managing anaphylactic emergencies has just launched online.
“First Aid For Anaphylaxis: An Allergic Emergency” fills an important educational gap by providing clear instructions for what steps to take if witnessing an anaphylactic reaction. It provides easy-to-follow, standardized information in line with World Allergy Organization (WAO) guidelines.
“We have created this course to protect allergic individuals by ensuring that the first on the scene are trained to recognize an allergic emergency – anaphylaxis – and respond immediately with life-saving first aid,” said Dr. Mark Greenwald, the Toronto allergist who co-created the course with Elizabeth Goldenberg, a lawyer and allergy advocate.
“This medical emergency requires immediate first aid – the individual can’t wait for emergency crews to arrive,” said Greenwald, referring to the need for quick response with emergency epinephrine when an anaphylactic reaction is in progress.
Greenwald and Goldenberg founded EpiCenter Medical Inc., the company that offers this online course, which provides excellent guidance for parents of allergic children, their caregivers and school and daycare staff. But the course is also designed to be used more widely in the community: staff in restaurants, dental offices, airlines, government offices, hotels, and sports venues are among those Greenwald sees benefiting from its emergency training.
“When staff in those locations are called to respond to a reaction on their premises, they will know how to recognize anaphylaxis, to treat anaphylaxis immediately with epinephrine for the best survival rate, and what life-saving steps to take next,” he says.
Anyone with Internet access can take the course, which is divided into modules:
• It begins with definitions of allergy and anaphylaxis, and moves into an explanation of epinephrine and easy instructions on how to use an epinephrine auto-injector. (So far, the course gives details on the widely prescribed EpiPen, but this may be updated soon to include the new Auvi-Q/Allerject injector.)
• As the lessons progress, participants learn how to spot anaphylaxis, and are given clear steps to follow (and remove any lingering doubt) during an anaphylactic emergency.
• As legal questions can arise among would-be good Samaritans, legal consequences are also covered, from injecting the life-saving shot into someone else, to the ramifications of deciding not to do so.
To confirm the participant’s comprehension (and keep the user engaged), quizzes are taken throughout to test knowledge. Users cannot move on to the next section until they have passed the previous one.
Allergic Living was glad to see that EpiCenter Medical’s course stresses that it’s always better to give the shot, and immediately, in the case of a suspected anaphylactic reaction. Delay can reduce the chance of epinephrine being effective, and there are no harmful effects associated with giving the shot to a healthy person who doesn’t require it.
Those who complete the online course are able to print out a personal certificate stating that they are S.A.V.E. certified – which stands for Save Anaphylaxis Victims in an Emergency.
EpiCenter Medical also offers sale of an ‘Epi-Kit’, which is a case of multiple EpiPens designed to be placed in public locations, in a manner similar to automated external defibrillators. The idea is that an Epi-Kit should always be available within 60 seconds of an anaphylactic emergency.
In summary: This course provides highly valuable information and life-saving instructions. It is excellent as a standalone course, and could also be integrated into CPR courses, so that any first responder in an anaphylactic emergency will know what steps to take to save a life.
The course is available at epipentraining.com
Cost for an individual: $29.95 – Update: as of Jan. 21, 2014, now being offered for FREE to individuals.
Discounted group rates available for groups larger than 10