Virginia Schools Administer EpiPen Twice in Two Weeks

EpiPens at School
School nurses at two Prince William County high schools in Virginia may have saved lives recently when they administered epinephrine in separate incidents. On September 18, a high school junior went to the school nurse with itching and hives after eating. When it was determined that the student was beginning to have trouble breathing, the nurse administered the EpiPen and called an ambulance. On September 26, at another high school in the district, a student went to the nurse saying he felt like his "throat was closing up". The nurse used the EpiPen and called 911.

A new Virginia law requires EpiPens to be stocked in each public school in the state. The state budget included $200,000 for epinephrine pens in public schools in time for the 2012-2013 school year. Prince William County schools spent time over the summer setting policies for use of the EpiPens and they trained designated staff members to administer the life-saving medication in each school building.

Training of school staff and quick access to epinephrine is critical in keeping food allergic students safe. New York is the only state in the U.S. that still hasn't passed a law allowing students to carry their own medications at school. Only a handful of states require schools to stock epinephrine. Individual schools may stock the medication, even if it is not required by law. 

Check with your school district to find out their policy and go to FAAN's "School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act" to see how you can help your state. Above all, make sure your school knows about your child's allergies and that your child knows to ask for help if they "feel funny" or believe they may be having an allergic reaction.

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