New Florida law helps kids who have allergic reaction at school | Health
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A child’s life might be saved from a severe allergic reaction at school thanks to a new Florida law giving school personnel the training and tools to freely treat anaphylaxis, the life-threatening reaction that may occur when in contact with a food allergen.
“Immediate administration of epinephrine is the only treatment that has shown to be effective in preventing deaths from anaphylaxis,” said Dr. Patrick DeMarco, a board certified allergist with Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida.
Senate bill 284, School Emergencies, enables public and private schools to adopt an anaphylaxis protocol to be developed by a licensed physician. School personnel can be trained on how to recognize anaphylaxis, treat an anaphylactic emergency and be trained how to use epinephrine auto-injectors. It also permits schools to maintain a non-student-specific stock of epinephrine auto-injectors for emergency use.
One in every 13 children have a food allergy; that’s about two children per school classroom according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Society.
The majority of children diagnosed with food allergies are aware of their allergy, although 25 percent of epinephrine administrations occurring in school involve children whose risk for allergy was unknown at the time of reaction.
Previous Florida legislation allowed a student to have a prescription auto-injector available at school, but it did not allow schools to keep a “stock” supply of epinephrine for emergency use. This meant that any child who experienced a first-time allergic reaction at school did not have access to this life-saving treatment. It also placed known-food-allergic children at risk if they did not have an epinephrine auto-injector readily available.
Epinephrine currently comes in two different auto-injector devices, Epi-pen and Auvi-Q and is safe in children.
Two manufacturers of epinephrine auto-injectors, Mylan and Sanofi-Aventis, have also agreed to distribute devices to every public and private school in the state.
The law was signed by Governor Rick Scott on May 30 and took effect on July 1, 2013 just in time for the new school year.