New EpiPen Law to Take Effect
A new bill allowing school personnel to stock and administer epinephrine in the event of life-threatening allergic reactions will take effect in January.
School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act
While not legally binding at the state level, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act encourages states to adopt laws that will require public schools to keep epinephrine auto-injectors on hand and to create training programs for school personnel.
States will be given preference for federal asthma education grants should they:
- Permit trained personnel of the school to administer epinephrine to any student of the school believed to be suffering an anaphylactic reaction.
- Maintain a supply of epinephrine in a secure location that is easily accessible for trained school personnel.
- Present a plan for having one or more individuals trained to administer epinephrine on premises during all operating hours of the school.
- Present a certification protecting trained personnel who administer epinephrine to a student believed to be suffering an anaphylactic reaction from civil liability.
About Epinephrine and Anaphylactic Reactions
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction which most often occurs in people with a known history of allergic reaction.
Following exposure to an allergen, immune cells throughout the body release chemicals which can result in swelling of the tongue and throat, difficulty breathing and a drop in blood pressure – shock, arrhythmias and heart muscle dysfunction often develop within 10 minutes which can quickly lead to death.
Such a case occurred very recently in Corpus Christi, Texas after Cameron Espinosa, 13, was bitten by ants during a middle school football game. Unfortunately, an EpiPen injection was not on sight and Cameron died from anaphylactic shock.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of children with food allergies has increased by 50 percent since 1997. Further, 25 percent of anaphylaxis cases reported iat schools occur in children with no prior history of food allergy.
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