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School Board Votes to Streamline EpiPen Usage

A new policy by the Montgomery County Board of Education would authorize school nurses to use EpiPens on any student experiencing a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Nearly 100 Montgomery County students experienced life-threatening allergic reactions last school year, leading school officials to authorize school nurses to use EpiPens when necessary.

According to Montgomery County Board of Education data, 27 of the 97 students who developed  anaphylaxis were not known to be susceptible to serious allergies and even more did not have life-saving medicine on file with the school’s nurse.

The Board voted last week to authorize nurses and other school administrators to give any student in anaphylaxis an injectable medication, even if that student doesn’t have the medication on file or isn’t known to have an associated allergy. 

Policy JPD, as the edict is named, is in response to a Senate law that requires local school boards to create rules on the use of epinephrine auto-injectors, known by the brand name EpiPen.

Anaphylaxis is commonly triggered by food allergies, insect bites and allergies to common drugs like aspirin, according to the National Institutes of Health online medical encyclopedia. Symptoms like vomiting, difficulty swallowing or breathing and even unconsciousness, can develop quickly and 911 should be called immediately, NIH said. 

In Montgomery County, all 97 students who suffered the reaction were treated by emergency medical professionals. Nurses administered an EpiPen for 39 of the students after 911 was called.  

The Board is seeking public comment on the policy before it takes final action on Oct. 22. Read the full policy here

Theresa Defino September 27, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Tragedies like this one must be prevented. http://wtvr.com/2012/01/04/family-child-dies-in-school-from-peanut-allergic-reaction/
MRHarmon September 28, 2012 at 01:54 PM
This policy doesn't go far enough. Each teacher should be trained and given the authority to use an epi-pen. Each classroom should be stocked with an epi-pen. How long is going to take a school nurse or an administrator to obtain an epi-pen and then get to a child? I'm afraid that the answer could be too long....I'd rather a child be given an injection (which doesn't hurt) than the other possible outcome!
Pedsfs September 29, 2012 at 08:44 PM
I'm all in favor of stocking epi-pens at every school and training medical personnel in their use. But - putting one in every classroom might not be an efficient way to prevent schoolchildren from having bad outcomes due to anaphylaxis. Epipens cost $30 each, and expire every 1-2 years. I don't know how many classrooms there are in Montgomery County, but stocking each one with an epipen every year or two would be a significant expense. But - having a set of epipens in every school, with several trained personnel at each location, should be essential.
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