Over the years I’ve stored my EpiPen in various receptacles such as a cigar case, pencil tin, glasses case, make-up bag etc. but all have fallen apart prematurely from being carried around everywhere, not from constant use thank God. Whilst many different things can accommodate your EpiPen and keep it safe, does it look like it contains medicine? and could someone find it quickly if they needed to?
Years ago EpiPens were supplied in a kind of triangular cardboard box which disintegrated within months; the new plastic tubes are better but not really sturdy enough to be used loose in a bag, and they generally don’t last as long as the EpiPen’s life.
So what sort of products are available?
There are many companies who manufacture various different cases for protecting your EpiPen including: Yellow Cross, Activeaide, Pen Pal, Anotote, and Meditubes, to name just a few.
I used to use a Yellow Cross black case with the yellow first aid cross on the outside. It was a tight fit but I used that for years and years, and it’s still going strong; this case is very slim and light and takes up the minimum room in your bag for two EpiPens.
More recently I’ve been using Activeaide’s Twin Auto Inject pouch. I like it because it’s padded with a reflective lining which helps to keep the EpiPen at a constant temperature. It also has a label inside the lid at the top, for your name and phone number, in case you mislay of lose it. Mine is a lovely green colour and has the company’s logo in red on the outside and a small red cross. My only comment on this case is that I think the Red Cross could be a little bit bolder, to make it stand out more and indicate that the pouch contains medical equipment.
Anyone with severe allergies will know that the EpiPen itself is not the only kind of medication that helps. I also carry around anti-histamines, my action plan, a letter from my doctor stating that I need to carry the EpiPen for medical reasons, my inhaler, pain killers and tissues. If you also have a dairy allergy, like I do, then normal anti-histamine tablets are not suitable; I use liquid anti-histamines which come in a small bottle. My allergies also affect my asthma so the inhaler is always a constant companion.
None of these cases are able to fit my entire allergy self-help kit inside them; they are only large enough for one or two EpiPens.
A cheaper option
My allergy specialist keeps hers in the cheapest solution of all – a clear plastic zip lock folder. You can buy these in most large supermarkets and stationery shops and this way it’s completely clear what the bag contains as you can see through it, and you can fit everything inside the same bag. I’m trying out a clear zip pencil case at the moment. It is probably not as hard wearing as the purpose made cases, but does have the added benefit of being large enough to contain everything, and also very affordable.
If you fancy trying the zip lock option look out for clear pencil cases or clear passport/travel bags that are made of sturdy clear plastic and have a zip. They can cost as little as 35p to a £1. I’m not convinced they will last as well as the padded cases but I’m testing this option and will let you know how long it lasts being bashed about in my rather overfull and constantly used bag in a later post.
What do they cost?
The cost of EpiPen pouches ranges from £15 for a basic Epi Pouch travel case which fits in two EpiPens and comes with a belt and strap, to £60 for the top of the range Anotote case with belt, protectubes and case.
The tough tubes, or protectubes cost about £12 each and are worth having. They are tough, durable and usually include a tinted plastic sleeve which helps protect your EpiPen from sunlight. They usually come with an adjustable neck loop or belt strap so you can have the Epipen with you even when you don’t have a bag to carry it in.
Where can I buy them?
I have found some cases online that have a little pocket for an inhaler too but these are currently only available in the US so could cost quite a lot to order in the UK.
For something a bit different, (I only just discovered this website whilst researching for this article), try the online shop from Always Read the Label which stocks pouches and bags with fun and funky designs for kids and adults, t-shirts, stickers and much more.
Frio also supply medical bags suitable for EpiPens: www.friouk.com.
Just go to Google and type in EpiPen pouches and loads of different sites and suppliers come up. I don’t know which is best but there are certainly more and more suppliers out there so get surfing.
So, where do you keep yours? I’d love to know. Which product do you think is best?