How to Dispose of an EpiPen the Right Way

Injecting emergency medicine. Epinephrine Auto injector is a medical device for injecting doses of epinephrine or adrenaline through a needle into a patient suffering an allergy

If you have an EpiPen and don’t know how to dispose of it, you’ve come to the right place! We have all the different ways you can dispose of a used or expired EpiPen.

Dispose of an EpiPen the correct way by taking it to a doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy, or the closest needle disposal. Doing this is the safe and only way to dispose of an EpiPen. It can even be taken to the specific doctor who prescribed the EpiPen, as they will know how to dispose of it.

Below we will get into the details of how to dispose of your EpiPen and why you can’t simply throw them away.

Places to Dispose of EpiPens

It’s important to dispose of your EpiPen in a certain way. You should never just throw it away. If you used your EpiPen, you should give it to the doctor you saw after you used it. That should be either your regular doctor or one of the hospital’s doctors. They will dispose of it for you properly.

If your EpiPen is just expired, you should dispose of it at a doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy, or at your state’s nearest needle disposal. This website is the best way for you to find the best and the closest location you can dispose of your EpiPen at.

You should also put your EpiPen in a puncture-safe container until you are able to dispose of it properly. It will ensure that you and garbage truck workers don’t get pricked by the needle of your EpiPen after it has been used.

Why Not Just Throw it Away?

You should never just throw away your EpiPen, it could be very dangerous and hazardous. EpiPens in the garbage could cause a needlestick injury in someone carrying the bag, which can expose them to blood-borne diseases like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV.

You should never ever throw your EpiPen away in the garbage. You, your children, and your dogs might be harmed if you are lazy with disposing of your EpiPen, so take the extra step and dispose of it properly.

How to Know When to Dispose of EpiPen

If you have used your EpiPen or it is expired, you need to dispose of your EpiPen. The expiration date is on the box of your EpiPen. If you cannot find the expiration date on the box, there are other ways to check if it’s expired. If you look at the liquid part through the window of your EpiPen (auto-injector) If you see that it’s cloudy, you know you need a new EpiPen.

If you go to use your EpiPen and see that the needle is bent, you will need to dispose of the entire EpiPen because it won’t work properly and may cause more harm than good.

Can I Use an Expired EpiPen?

It is encouraged that if you have an EpiPen, you get rid of it about every 12 to 18 months. You should never use an expired EpiPen. Over the months, as it begins to expire, the potency of the EpiPen begins to decrease. If you begin to have an allergic reaction and use an expired EpiPen, you risk the chance of the EpiPen not working and you still having an allergic reaction during a dangerous, time-sensitive time. You could even risk injuring your leg with the needle.

The only reason you should ever use your EpiPen is if you have no other options and your allergic reaction is escalating quickly. An expired EpiPen is better than no EpiPen, although you should be aware and worried about the side effects of using an expired EpiPen.

Three of my siblings have severe tree nut allergies, and my mother always made sure to replace their EpiPens when they were expired or when they used one. My siblings never used an EpiPen that was expired. You just need to stay on top of it and be smart.

The biggest and most important possible side effect of using an expired EpiPen is that it won’t work and you will be left without any aid for your allergic reaction. You might even end up dying if you use it and it doesn’t help. This is why you should only ever use an expired EpiPen if you have no other options and your allergic reaction is extremely bad.

Most EpiPen users know that after they use their EpiPen, they need to get medical help as soon as possible. Such is the case if you use an expired EpiPen, but it is even more important because it may not work or may cause you to have a negative reaction to the medication.

Sharps Containers

Health care worker’s gloved hand drops syringe into hazardous waste container.

When disposing of your EpiPen, you need to put it into a sharps container.

What are Sharps Containers?

Sharps containers are special FDA-approved bins that are made for disposing of needles safely. Sharp containers are typically available in locations like pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers, and online. These bins are made of plastic and are marked with a line that shows when the bin is considered full, and that it’s time to dispose of the entire container.

Locations With Sharp Containers You Can Purchase:

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Walgreens
  • Grainger
  • CVS
  • Office Depot

You can dispose of sharps containers in the following locations:

  • Your nearest state’s needle disposal center
  • Fire Stations
  • Police Department
  • Hospitals
  • Health Clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Health Departments
  • Community Organizations

Lost EpiPens

Were you walking around outside in the park and happen to have found an EpiPen? Here is what you should do with it if you found one.

If you found an EpiPen the needle is out, you need to be extremely careful not to accidentally poke yourself or others with it. Immediately find some type of container, sealable bag, or cup you can put it in so that you don’t accidentally use it. Once you have done that, or if the needle wasn’t exposed, you should ask around and see if anyone is missing the EpiPen. They may need help and not realize they lost it.

After trying to find the person that lost the EpiPen that you found, you should take the lost EpiPen to the police department, fire station, pharmacy, doctor’s office, or hospital. Wherever the closest place is, that is where you should dispose of it. Of course, you should also make sure that the EpiPen stays far away from children and animals. They might want to play with it and get injured in the process.

If you lost your EpiPen, continue looking for it and get it replaced as soon as possible.

Accidental EpiPen Injection

If you or your child ever accidentally inject yourself with an EpiPen, you should always know what to do. It’s very difficult to accidentally inject yourself with an EpiPen, but it is possible. It is very dangerous if this happens because it can lead to hypertension or heart problems.

Most accidental injections are because someone was trying to help someone else during an allergic reaction and accidentally pricks their own hand. If you accidentally inject your hands or feet, this can impair blood flow and cause tissue death.

Symptoms of an Accidental EpiPen Injection

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Pain and Swelling where you pricked yourself
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Heart Palpitations

It is essential that you know about these symptoms and know what to do if you accidentally inject yourself. You should immediately seek medical attention if you accidentally inject yourself with an EpiPen and tell the people you are with what happened, just in case you can’t tell the medical professionals when they arrive to treat you.

Keeping Sharps Away from Children

Children love to get into things they shouldn’t be getting into, that’s why you have to keep sharps containers and EpiPens away from children at all times. You should keep sharps containers and EpiPens in high places where the children can’t reach them. This will help them to stay away from them.

It’s also very important to teach your children to not touch or play with things like EpiPen and sharps containers. Teach them that they can be very dangerous when used improperly. This could save your child’s life.

Do Your Children’s Schools Know How to Use EpiPens?

Portrait of little girl with diathesis symptoms on cheeks in light room

Your children’s school needs to be very aware of how to use EpiPen, the storage of EpiPens, and the disposal of EpiPen. When your child starts a new school, contact the nurse and speak with them concerning your worries. Teach them how to use EpiPens if they don’t know how to. This helps someone know what to do if your child has an allergic reaction at school and you can’t be there.

Did you know your children’s school probably won’t allow them to carry their EpiPen on them? Because it has a needle, your child will be required to give their EpiPen to the school nurse instead of carrying it on themselves. This can be dangerous, because there may not be enough time for your child to run to the nurse’s office if they are having an allergic reaction. This means that you need to teach your children the signs of an allergic reaction and teach them what they need to do if they suspect they are having one.

Symptoms of Allergic Reaction

  • Throat closing up
  • Swelling
  • Turning red
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tingling or itching
  • Wheezing

What they Should Do if They Suspect they are Having an Allergic Reaction:

  • Find an adult
  • Get to an EpiPen as soon as possible (if you have to use someone else’s EpiPen, do it)
  • Find a nurse or doctor

It’s very normal for you to have symptoms after using an EpiPen. But, it’s important to know what they are.

Symptoms of EpiPen Use

  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizzy
  • Anxious
  • Headache

It’s very important for you to know these symptoms and to teach your children about them so that you know what to expect if you ever have to use your EpiPen.

Tips on Using EpiPens

Epinephrine auto injectable pen held by gloved hand.

I have three siblings with severe tree nut allergies, and sometimes, they have an allergic reaction out of nowhere and have to use an EpiPen. My advice for you is that you teach your children to always be cautious of what they are eating if they are away from home or eating something new. If it starts to feel weird or uncomfortable, stop eating it immediately.

Also, teach your children how to dispose of EpiPens themselves when they get old enough. You should do this so they begin to learn how to use EpiPens correctly and dispose of them correctly. They will be out of the house one day and they will need to know how to use their EpiPen in case of emergency.

As a sibling of those who had severe allergies, I always wish I knew how to use an EpiPen on my siblings if they ever had a severe allergic reaction to any nuts. If I knew how to help them in case of an emergency, I would have been prepared and known what to do. I was never in many situations like that, but there were a few times when I saw them having an allergic reaction and I didn’t know what to do or how to help them.

You should teach all your children, even one’s that don’t have allergies, how to use EpiPens, how to dispose of them (when they are old enough), and how to look for signs of an allergic reaction. Once your children are old enough, they could really help your other children if there is an emergency and you are not there.

Disposing of your expired EpiPens is very important, is it hazardous if you dispose of them incorrectly. It’s only a few more steps to complete it, and an important one at that. EpiPens can seem scary and daunting, but in reality, they are just essential to one’s safety. Always be aware of where your EpiPen is and how to use it. Always teach your children the EpiPen rules and what to do if they have an allergic reaction. Being safe means you can be happy and healthy too!

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