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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:33 am 

Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:23 pm
Posts: 1099
Location: Kingston
‘You may not have time to wait for an ambulance’ in an allergy crisis. But many schools report no EpiPens on hand.

A bee sting sent a nurse into action at Forest View Elementary in Mount Prospect, injecting a shot of epinephrine into a 7-year-old having an allergic reaction.

At Hawthorne Elementary in Elmhurst, a 10-year-old was given the medication after eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a carrot.

For a 7-year-old at Mary E. Courtenay Language Arts Center in Chicago, it was an allergic reaction to cantaloupe that prompted the injection.

In each of these incidents during the 2016-2017 school year, the child had no previously known severe allergies. And in each case, the child was rescued with a shot of epinephrine, used to counter severe allergic reactions and kept on hand by his or her school.An estimated 4 to 6 percent of children have food allergies, and parents of children with known allergies often keep the lifesaving medication within reach — in backpacks and in school nurses’ offices. But that doesn’t help children who experience allergic reactions for the first time at school, or children who know of their allergies but don’t have their own EpiPens or similar devices, which can be pricey.

Yet, in Illinois, not all public or private schools maintain a general supply of the medication for any student to use, even though at least two sellers of epinephrine auto-injectors give them to schools for free.

It’s also uncertain which Illinois schools have them and which don’t. Fewer than one-third of Illinois’ 852 school districts reported having a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors during the 2016-2017 school year, the most recent year for which data is available. More districts than that keep the devices on hand, but they didn’t tell the state, despite a requirement beginning in that school year that they report that information, the Tribune found. Some school officials said they weren’t aware they were supposed to report the information.

Schools that did keep auto-injectors administered epinephrine from their own supplies 122 times during the 2016-2017 school year — and more than half of those times involved students or staff with no known severe allergies.

“There are a whole mess of kids going to school that don’t even know they have a food allergy, or maybe an allergy to a bee sting,” said Jen Jobrack, senior national director of advocacy for the group Food Allergy Research & Education.

If those kids have allergic reactions at school for the first time, “You may not have time to wait for an ambulance to arrive,” she said.

Illinois was among the first handful of states in the country to pass laws allowing or requiring schools to have extra epinephrine, Jobrack said. Almost every state in the country has since followed. About a dozen states now require schools to keep their own supplies of epinephrine, according to the group. ... story.html


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