Epinephrine Use to Treat Food Allergy or Insect Sting Reactions

State laws vary in regards to whether non-medical personnel may administer epinephrine to a person experiencing anaphylaxis due to an allergic reaction. Recently, the WMS (Wilderness Medical Society) addressed this issue. The organization has taken the position that:
  • outdoor instructors authorized to treat anaphylaxis should be trained to administer epinephrine
  •  legislative change on the federal level should establish uniform protection in all 50 states
So, see that second bullet point? That means families need to know what the law in their state says about non-medical personnel administering epinephrine. In New York, for example, teachers and camp counselors are permitted to administer epinephrine after proper training. Other states strictly prohibit this. Good Samaritan Laws may cover people in some areas.

Ideally, a person with a known allergy that may lead to an anaphylactic reaction carries their own medication and self administers if necessary. That is not always possible though, especially for children experiencing a reaction. The laws need to protect helpers who may need to assist someone in a life-threatening situation.

Read the full WMS position and know the laws in your state.
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