15 States Enacted Epinephrine Legislation in 2013
15 more states have enacted legislation making it easier for schools to stock epinephrine as the U.S. Senate works to pass a bill that would urge states to require schools to keep the life saving medication on hand.
“Epinephrine is the first line treatment for these severe reactions. Studies show that delays in treatment with epinephrine increase risk of death.” – Dr. Michael Pistiner, pediatric allergist as published by Fox News
- Epinephrine is a medication that is used to counteract serious allergic reactions to insect stings, insect bites, food, drugs, and other substances.
- The medication commonly comes in the form of an auto-injector, often referred to by the brand name EpiPen, which injects the drug using a spring activate needles.
Injection of the medication is meant to curb the effects of an allergic reaction by:
- Raising dropping blood pressure
- Stabilizing rapid heart rates
- Reducing swelling of the lips, throat, face and tongue
- Reduce hives
- Experts do warn, however, that even upon injection, emergency services should be called as the drug will only counteract the effects of a reaction for roughly 5 minutes.
Epinephrine Use in Schools
- According to Fox News, a total of 26 states have passed legislation which make it easier for schools to obtain epinephrine and that provide legal protection to staff members that administer the medication.
- Prior to 2013, only 11 states had such laws. The rapid increase is likely in response to cases in which children have suffered allergic reactions while at school that did not have access to epinephrine.
- Most recently, a Corpus Christi, Texas middle school student died after suffering an allergic reaction to ant bites during a football game at which epinephrine was not readily available, even though Texas does allow school staff to administer the medication.
- His death came just a week after the U.S. Senate introduced a bill that would press states to require epinephrine on hand – a measure that is currently enforced by only four states.
- Though parents express concern over the ingecting of the drug without approval, allergist are quick to point out that the medication carries no serious risks when injected in a person who is not suffering from an allergic reaction.
Symptoms Allergic Reactions
Information provided by NBC News:
- Coughing, sneezing or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficutly swallowing
- Swelling of the face, lips or tongue
- Feeling dizzy or fainting
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