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EpiPen shortage hitting Fort St. John: What should you do if you’re having a severe allergic reaction?

EpiPen. Photo by Philip Bradshaw.
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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John is one of many cities in Canada that is currently facing an Epipen shortage.

News broke last week that pharmacies across the country would run out of Epipens within the next few days to a couple of weeks. Fort St. John is no different as a majority of pharmacies including the Fort St. John Pharmacy and Wellness Centre and Safeway Pharmacy have run out.

The shortage came to be after a manufacturing issue by Pfizer Canada. Without the Epipens adults who suffer from severe allergic reactions are unable to inject epinephrine which could cause them to go into anaphylactic shock.

Corey Hermann, a pharmacist with the Fort St. John Pharmacy and Wellness Centre, explained that though Epipens are unavailable to order, epinephrine is still available in ampoule form. To receive ampoules residents would need a prescription, once they have the ampoules they would then inject themselves to receive the epinephrine.

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Hermann added that since most pharmacies in the area are close to, or already out of EpiPens, residents who suffer a severe allergic reaction should head to the hospital immediately.

“Take Benedrill and get on your way to the hospital,” said Hermann. “Most people have enough time to get to the hospital.”

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Hermann went on to say that using an EpiPen only buys residents an extra 20-30 minutes, so getting to the hospital should be their first priority regardless of what equipment they have.

“Most people have enough time to get to the hospital. There are some cases where the anaphylactic occurs so quickly that they don’t and that’s when they’re going to need their EpiPen. Even using the EpiPen only buys you about 20 minutes to half an hour, so you should be on your way regardless.”

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