A qualitative study exploring parents’ experiences with epinephrine use for their child’s anaphylactic reaction
Abstract Background Children with life threatening food allergies live with the constant threat of a fatal reaction, and caregivers must always be prepared to treat with an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI). This interpretive phenomenological study explored parents’ perceptions and lived experiences with prescribed EAI use for their child. Methods The purposive sample included ten parents of five children under 12 years of age, diagnosed with a food allergy and prescribed with an EAI who recently experienced anaphylaxis. Data sources included digitally-recorded semi-structured interviews and a reflexive journal. Results Eight main themes emerged: perception of anaphylaxis, life challenges, isolation, anxiety, hesitation, guilt, influence of health care professionals, and lessons learned. Parents uniformly described multiple life challenges and feelings of isolation, anxiety and hesitation during a reaction that lead to subsequent guilt. Conclusions Handling reactions correctly provided parents with confidence to treat subsequent reactions. Witnessing the effects of an EAI and receiving positive feedback from health care providers further strengthened their confidence to quickly and competently intervene in future reactions.
Clinical and Translational Allergy. 2018 Oct 18;8(1):43