Woman's Life-Or-Death Video Explaining How To Use An EpiPen Watched 5M Times

TikToker Faith Pancoast has gone viral with her video guide on how to use an EpiPen (also known as an epinephrine autoinjector or adrenaline autoinjector) to combat a severe anaphylaxis medical emergency.

EpiPen, which Newsweek has contacted for comment, has itself published a clear how-to guide for using its autoinjector. Pancoast's instructions have been viewed 1.9 million times on TikTok, and saw another surge of interest when shared on Twitter, with 5.3 million views so far.

However, there is no indication that Pancoast is a health professional. Dr. Jeff Foster of H3health.co.uk warned people should only heed advice given by trusted experts.

He told Newsweek: "The problem is sometimes people don't know how to use them properly. In general a specialist will tell you/your child how to use an EpiPen but sometimes watching a well-constructed video can be useful in providing a chance to rewatch the process and pick up techniques.

"The only caveat is that you have to be careful what you watch. Half the health advice you see on the internet is complete nonsense. So always try and get your information from a reputable source."

@faith_pancoast

On todays How To Episode: I’m teaching you how to give someone an epi pen! #ThankfulFor #SportsTikTok #Bestie #FYP #Epinephrine #ShareThis #Allergies

♬ original sound - Faith Pancoast

Pancoast began the clip by saying: "What you are going to do is a three-step program. Blue lid off. You are going to take the needle end. Not with your thumb on top. Not with your thumb on [the] bottom.

"Insert it into the outer thigh; the side of the thigh. Not the top. Not the back. Not the stomach. Not the chest. Not the neck. The side of the thigh.

"This is where the femur muscles are. Typically, this is the largest part of the body. You do not want this puncturing the bone, okay? And if it is puncturing the outer thigh, it never will.

"The needle is about [2 inches long] and for people with needle phobia, you will not ever see the needle come in or out. The needle end extends, so you will not ever see the needle."

Pancoast explained that the pen will then need to be held in place for approximately 10 seconds.

Pancoast cautioned viewers to be wary of the side effects, saying: "Epinephrine is pure adrenaline, okay, [so] they are going to be bouncy, they are going to be jittery, so do not be afraid of out.

"In fact, most of the time, when I am given epinephrine, I cannot talk because my brain is running at 10,000mph, so do not be alarmed, unless I go unconscious, in which case you should be alarmed."

Pancoast, who Newsweek has contacted for comment, ended her viral video with the following advice: "When in doubt, blue to the sky, orange to the thigh."

Online medical resource explained adrenalin—also known as epinephrine—is a chemical that narrows blood vessels and opens airways in the lungs. It is used to treat the symptoms of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) such as severe low blood pressure, wheezing, severe skin itching, hives, and other symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Her video triggered thousands of comments, with many people questioning the advice to always call out an ambulance, regardless of whether it was requested or not.

Dr. Giuseppe Aragona, GP and online doctor for OnlinePrescriptionDoctor, told Newsweek an EpiPen is used in emergencies to treat allergic reactions to food, drugs and insect bites.

He said: "Epinephrine which is the medicine in an EpiPen works to quickly reverse symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. It helps to improve your breathing, increase blood pressure and reduce any swelling, it also will help to stimulate the heart.

"If you think you might be allergic to certain things then it is a good idea to always carry an EpiPen on you, as of you do suffer a serious reaction it could save your life. Often, people who are severely allergic to certain foods or insect bites will carry one on them daily.

"EpiPens are easy to use once you understand how to use them. I would advise watching a how-to video and understanding exactly how they work so if in an emergency you can work quickly to save yourself or someone else."

EpiPens
Stock image of EpiPens. Getty Images