Updated: Jan 9, 2021
So why this post? Well, people with severe allergies must carry an EpiPen with them at all times. Moreso, health care providers recommend to have at least two EpiPens, in case the first syringe misfires or if you require a second dose.
However, research shows that some people don’t actually carry EpiPens with them. Teens, for example, may leave them in school lockers, or even at home in fear of being mocked. Men have a hard time finding suitable cases, and women simply don’t want to carry their purses everywhere or have no room for another large item. Indeed, if you’ve ever seen an EpiPen, you know that it is quite bulky and resembles something like a permanent marker on steroids, rather than a “pen”.
Here is where I think the gap is: yes, many companies do offer special EpiPen carrying bags, but a lot of designs are not very aesthetically pleasing for people. I also understand not everybody is okay to walk around with a case displaying a bright medical symbol sticker on it, some people prefer more privacy, right? I mean, of course, it fits the EpiPen perfectly and has a proper insulation layer. And sure, it will make everyone aware of your allergy. But I agree with my friend who inspired this post; it sometimes may look quite… “uncool”!
Just imagine, it’s been five years for me now and I’m still on the hunt for creative ideas! On the positive side, it seems that as awareness increases, so do the choices for EpiPen cases…as I was writing this post, I came across a couple of rather good-looking options to share. I am sure there is no single best solution for everyone, but here are some ideas that people kindly shared with me that may send you the right direction (these are also great X-mas ideas, in case if you are looking for one):
Finding a good case for kids is tricky, and I’d say it largely depends on the age of the child. Very young kids don’t see medical conditions as gloomy and biased, as pre-teens and teens do. They also can’t analyze the situation well, so bright medical symbols here are actually handy as they can help first responders to locate their EpiPen quickly. Many schools and facilities won’t even allow a child to carry their own EpiPen until a certain age, so perhaps that is not an issue for you. In any case, you can buy a full “ready-to go” case, or just a simple keychain that you can attach to a pencil case with a bright allergy warning. The second option seems better, in my opinion; allergy or not, many kids want to have pretty pouches with their favourite characters, not medical symbols. And to be honest, who wouldn’t, right?
My allergy was diagnosed in adulthood so I am a poor judge here, but from what I have heard, many teens don’t particularly like carrying EpiPens around. This is a complicated topic grounded in some psychosocial aspects of this age group as well as some bullying trends (see my recent Instagram post for more details on this), and so finding the right way of carrying an EpiPen here will be very individualistic. Teens are also very particular about what they see as “cool” and “uncool” so there will some need to get creative. In my opinion, medical cases, or keychains with visible bright allergy warnings are unlikely to be a first choice. Instead I’d go for a small waist bags (for those who wear loose clothes and hoodies, as you can easily hide them under), jackets with an inside zipper pockets or a small backpack that can be carried around (if allowed). In schools where backpacks are not allowed in the classroom, a soft-sided large zipper binder with various pockets/compartments may be a plausible solution to hide an EpiPen.
Women and Men
Adults, of course, also have variety of preferences and styles, so it is very difficult to give generalized advice here. I carry my purse with me everywhere, so it works for most situations. And when doing something sporty, like for example hiking, I move the EpiPens to my backpack. I also used a zipper binder on multiple occasions when a purse or backpack was not an option.
Men often have a hard time with EpiPen cases, because when they search for one, they find most options that are “too kiddish”, as one of my friends said. But it doesn’t have to be! Depending on personal style, there are a few ways. If a sport/casual style is your thing, a small waist bag can be a good idea (see the Reebok example in the link below). Nike sells a Running Slim waist pack that stretches and seems to be just big enough for one EpiPen (however, I’d check the exact dimensions before buying). There are some leather fanny packs that can work well, as long as you can find the right size length-wise. Small leather men purse or men clutches are also great options and easy to carry around! Just don't forget that EpiPens need to be protected from extreme temperatures when considering your options!
I hope today’s post sparked some creativity and has inspired you to find the solution that works for you and fit your lifestyle perfectly! I truly think that at the end of the day, safety is all that matters here. But it’s not just about being medically safe; it’s also about feeling secure and comfortable in all circumstances, so you can live a “normal” life without worry, and also without the burden of labels and stigmas. Even if it is a simple little thing like a case for your EpiPen.
Some useful links to get ideas (Note: I was not paid by any of these companies, but just sharing some interesting resources):
Not sure if this will work or not for such a large item as an EpiPen, but someone gave me this idea, so I thought to share anyways. I am thinking to order one, so if I do, I will definitely post on Instagram on whether it worked or not!