Storage and disposal

Video 15 of 30
3 min 6 sec

Your auto-injector must be stored correctly, but you must also be aware that different auto-injectors will have different temperature ranges and requirements that they can be kept under. So you need to make sure you know how to correctly store your particular unit, and then actually go on and store it correctly. You can get this information from the manufacturer's website, from your pharmacist or doctor, or on the ProTrainings website. Now generally speaking, all auto-injectors have to remain in set temperature ranges, you can't allow them to freeze or reach too high a temperature. If this happens, the shape of the chemical will change, which can render it useless.

Most auto-injectors are quite resistant to temperature changes and will be able to resist small changes, however it is the extremes which you need to guard against. With regards to cold temperatures, for example if you are going to put them into your coat pocket and you are out in a very snowy or frosty day, then you must look at what the minimum temperature of that environment is. Err on the side of caution, do not risk taking your auto-injector into an area which is likely to reach either extremely hot or cold temperatures. If you have an auto-injector left in the car on a hot sunny day, the temperature inside your car can get extremely hot, so you may need to make special arrangements to keep the unit cooler. Perhaps have an insulated storage box within your car, or maybe even just put it in the trunk of the vehicle. So make sure to check exactly with the manufacturers as to what the temperature extremes for your particular unit are.

Other requirements may be that the unit must have a UV protecting case. UV light comprises of sunlight between a particular wavelength range, which can make it not only dangerous to humans, but can also affect certain chemicals. For example, the EpiPen unit has a special case that protects it from UV light, since the adrenaline inside the EpiPen can be seriously affected by the sun’s rays. So, keep the unit in whatever storage case it comes in, not only may it offer protection against UV light, but it will also obtect against dust, dirt and other potential hazards.

There are different times when you are going to need to dispose of an auto-injector, and you need to take special precautions when doing this. One example would be once you have actually used it, and another would be if it becomes damaged or expired – meaning the medicine is still in the unit. If you have actually used an auto-injector, you should always give that to the paramedic or medical professional on the scene. That way they can tell exactly what has been administered to the patient. In times where both the unit and the medicine needs to be disposed of, you would need to take it back to your pharmacist, doctor or hospital and they can dispose of it correctly. Never just put these straight into the trash, as not only do they contain a needle, but also potentially dangerous medicine if not administered correctly and not expired.