Monday, April 8, 2013

First Aid for Anaphylaxis Training - EpiCenter Medical

Elizabeth Goldenberg is the owner of Onespot Allergy, which carries epinephrine auto-injector belts, and she is the author of the highly informative blog of the same name.  She is a lawyer, by trade, and a mother of two boys, one of whom has life-threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts.  She is now at the helm of a new project, which serves a much-needed purpose in the food allergy and anaphylaxis community.  Together with  Dr. Mark Greenwald, Elizabeth Goldenberg has developed a training course on First Aid for Anaphylaxis.  It is provided via their new company EpiCenter Medical, Inc.

Here is a description of the training course, from their website at
This course was created to protect allergic individuals by ensuring that the first on the scene, which could be you, are trained to recognize an allergic emergency (anaphylaxis) and respond immediately with life saving anaphylaxis first aid. Upon completion, graduates are S.A.V.E. Certified by EpiCenter Medical to Save Anaphylaxis Victims in an Emergency.
Here is some additional information provided by Elizabeth:
As background, it was written and produced over a period of 9 months with Allergist Dr. Mark Greenwald and is solidly based on and closely follows the World Allergy Organization anaphylaxis guidelines. These unique World Allergy Organization Guidelines for the Assessment and Management of Anaphylaxis were created in response to the absence of global guidelines for anaphylaxis. The course material incorporates the contributions from more than 100 allergy/immunology specialists on 6 continents received through the WAO member societies and the WAO Board of Directors. The course's recommendations are therefore based on the best evidence available and supported by the most up to date research material.
The course is provided online, and takes about one hour to complete.  I had the great privilege of previewing this course, for free, but as always, I promise you my full, honest opinion.  Here is the 4-minute demo video, describing the course:

I found the course to be accurate and also very informative, as well.  I learned some things that I did not know, before!  I've been meaning to get my CPR certification renewed, which I still need to do, but the treatment and management of an anaphylaxis emergency is usually not covered in such a course.  Even if it was, it would not be covered to this extent and with such a level of expertise on this very specific emergency situation.

Even though Elizabeth was ever so gracious to allow me to preview this course for free, I will be purchasing it for my husband, so he can take the course.  I will also be purchasing a gift subscription for my parents and my husband's parents.  (Couples and immediate family not needing official scores and certification papers can view the course simultaneously, around the same screen.  I think this is a great opportunity for spouses and parenting partners to get on the same page.)  To me, each person I get trained, one by one, makes the world that much safer for my daughter, and for those like her, who are at risk for anaphylaxis.  They might even use this information to save themselves, one day, as adult onset food allergies can occur, as well.

Here's my only reservation about the course - it's EpiPen-specific.  As we know, the EpiPen is not the only auto-injector on the market - we have Auvi-Qs, too.  However, the Auvi-Q wasn't available at the time Elizabeth was developing this course.  Luckily, the Auvi-Q speaks for itself and as far as actuating the device, itself, there should not be a problem with people knowing how to use it.

An important thing to note is that Elizabeth Goldenberg and Dr. Mark Greenwald have self-financed this major undertaking, themselves.  They are not beholden to any company or organization.  This gives them the freedom to provide treatment recommendations, objectively and without interference.  This project is a labor of love and borne of pure necessity.  Sadly, we are only four months into the year, yet have already read about three food allergy deaths.  The problem is not going away any time soon.  Food isn't even the only danger, when you consider bees, fire ants, latex, medications, etc.  We need this kind of training to spread far and wide.

Imagine a world where everyone around you and your family are educated and prepared to handle an anaphylaxis emergency.  This course can help us get closer to materializing that reality.

A trained world is a safer world.  Thank you Elizabeth and Dr. Greenwald!

Update: Check out this post by my friend Jenny at Multiple Food Allergy Help: EpiCenter Medical Training.

P.S.  I've spoken with Elizabeth and she is perfectly fine with people taking the course in small groups, as an informal training session, without official certification.  So, if you don't have a need for a certificate or recorded scores, gather a small group of friends, neighbors, family members, etc. and split the cost of the license with them!  You will all have the watch the course, simultaneously, so consider hosting a "training session" in your home, or at a local library, depending on your library's facilities (internet access, projector/screen, etc.)   

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