By Henry Ehrlich
EpiCenter Medical Inc., a group in Canada, including our friend Elizabeth Goldenberg of OneSpotAllergy, has put together a concise and thorough course to teach anaphylaxis care to babysitters, grandparents, teachers, restaurant staff—anyone who might be confronted with an emergency–from the onset of symptoms through injection to dealing with emergency medical responders. Very orderly and detailed, with alternating information and quizzes on the material just taught, the course combines clear narration with on screen enactments of each situation. You must be able to pass each quiz before moving on to the next segment. The message that anaphylaxis is not a wait-and-see event is drummed home–epinephrine first. Also very useful is the discussion of the legalities of giving emergency treatment (Elizabeth is a lawyer).
I found two features particularly noteworthy. One is the explanation of the part that asthma plays in a substantial number of deadly anaphylactic cases. We try to stress those links on this website because we know that respiratory distress in anaphylaxis becomes much more dangerous if the airways are already inflamed because of poorly controlled asthma. Many patients and families seem to separate the two. This course makes the point in considerable, sobering detail. The other is a series of real-life cases (complete with photographs of the victims) of anaphylaxis in which the response is described and you, the new expert, are asked to judge the efficacy of that response. Nicely done, Elizabeth, et al.
(For a more detailed look at the course, please see what AmazingandAtopic blogger Selena Bluntzer wrote here.)