New law encourages epinephrine in schools

November 19, 2013

President Obama recently signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act to enable school personnel to better react to children having emergent asthma attacks or severe allergy reactions.

President Obama recently signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act to enable school personnel to better react to children having emergent asthma attacks or severe allergy reactions.

The new law makes it easier for children to receive potentially life-saving injections of epinephrine at school, even without a prescription. The law does so by providing financial incentives to states that pass laws allowing schools to keep epinephrine and trained personnel on hand to treat children who require the life-saving agent, even when they do not have a prescription for it. States that comply will be eligible for grants to stock their schools with EpiPens or other forms of injectable epinephrine.

The law coincides with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issuing the first government guidelines for schools regarding food allergy. Although many states and school districts already have guidelines in place, the CDC’s new recommendations will likely become the standard for making schools safer for the 4 in every 100 children with food allergies. They provide recommendations for restricting foods that commonly cause allergic reactions and provide guidance on the availability of life-saving medications and devices such as EpiPens.

Although the new law and guidelines obviously benefit those children with known life-threatening allergies and asthma, they also benefit those without known sensitivities and children who suddenly react to a new substance.

Of course, even with the new law and guidelines in place, children with known life-threatening conditions should still carry appropriate medicines with them.

 

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