Millions of people around the world carry an EpiPen wherever they go—including some of Quail-Blier’s students. This medical device injects epinephrine into the body. Epinephrine is a hormone, or chemical messenger, that can counteract a serious allergic reaction. It’s also known as adrenaline.
People suffer an allergic reaction when their body’s disease-fighting immune system mistakenly overreacts to a particular substance. That could include dust, certain foods, skin particles released by pets, or saliva or venom from insect bites or stings. When people encounter a substance they’re allergic to, they may experience itching, rashes, or congestion. In severe cases, they can vomit, pass out, and suffer life-threatening symptoms like difficulty breathing. An EpiPen injection can help open up airways and save their life.