EpiPen to be Required in Michigan Schools

According to Livingston Daily, the state of Michigan has passed a law requiring Michigan schools to have devices to deal with dangerous allergic reactions.

What Are EpiPens?

Many children are allergic to foods, bee stings, latex, or medications. For some children, the reaction can occur within seconds, causing anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction to an allergen which may cause rash, fever, vomiting, dizziness, and restricted airway. Restricted airway poses the most danger for children suffering an allergic reaction and may cause the reaction to be fatal.

A common quick fix, and possible lifesaver, is the medication epinephrine. It can be administered easily through the use of an auto-injectable device known as an EpiPen.

Each Michigan school will now be required by law to have to EpiPens. In addition, each school is required to have one or two staff members trained to use the device on students or adults suffering an anaphylactic reaction.

Purpose of the New EpiPen Law

This law is intended for dealing with undiagnosed cases of life-threatening allergies. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 25% of the severe and potentially life-threatening reactions reported at schools occurred in children with no previous diagnosis of an allergy. Children who have been made aware of their allergy are still expected to bring their own epinephrine devices to school.

The EpiPens require a doctor’s prescription, and local doctors have volunteered to provide those prescriptions to school districts statewide. So far, 460 prescriptions have been written for nearly 4,800 EpiPens.

The law states that school districts must use funding from private sources to cover costs; however, with how important the EpiPens have become in today’s schools, schools can apply to the Michigan Department of Education for reimbursement of funds in the event that private funding isn’t available.

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