Epi Pens in Public Schools

Posted on: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 12:35pm
Zoe.Kirsch's picture
Joined: 10/23/2014 - 19:34

I'm an investigative reporter looking into how epi pens are managed (or mismanaged) in public schools (specifically interested in NYS, but also open to hearing about elsewhere). Any parents out there have a story?

Posted on: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 10:28am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

When my child had a reaction at school they were on the playground. The playground aid thought she was having an asthma attack, so did the nurse because my child could not speak since she could not breath, could not say her name so they did not know who she was and could not access her medical info to see she had a peanut allergy. After this incident the school put a picture of my child on their epi pen box.

Posted on: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:24pm
peanutfreenana's picture
Joined: 11/11/2014 - 20:01

I am an elementary school teacher in Hawaii. Epipens must be brought in by the parents and held in the health room. There are many holes in this system. For example, only by personal insistence at my local school have I been able to get the kids with life threatening conditions labeled with a red dot on their badge. We have a state system so all schools should be the same..but they are not. When the health room aide is absent, the only other person that can use the pens is the principal. He is often not at school or is out of the office. There is no school wide policy of how to get coverage for the epipens. Epipens must be administered quickly but that won't work if they have to chase down the people able to get in the cabinet and administer the shot. I think the state of Hawaii is remiss in developing a plan to address this life threatening condition. I would venture to guess that we are not the only state with this problem.

Posted on: Wed, 02/04/2015 - 10:41am
PeanutAllergy.com's picture
Joined: 06/21/2013 - 11:03

Question of the Week: Answered!
Every week, PeanutAllergy.com answers one of the questions posted in our community.
Our Answer:
There is growing concern about the preparation for allergies in schools. Since this issue deserves more attention, it’s great that you’ve taken interest in schools’ management of EpiPens.
Unfortunately, a study found that most of America’s schools are ill-prepared for dealing with allergy attacks. You can read more about those statistics here.
Furthermore, students with food allergies should have an emergency plan because children are more vulnerable at school. It is critical for them to be prepared because they may try foods for the first time at school. You can learn more about what these emergency plans specify here.
Fortunately, laws requiring schools to stock epinephrine injectors are being passed in more states. Another study found that schools having autoinjectors saves lives. You can learn about the findings of this study here.
Some emergency services are beginning to replace the EpiPen with a cheaper alternative. You can find out if this cheaper alternative is just as effective and learn more about it here.
We asked our Facebook community to share their stories and here’s what they had to say.
We hope you find this information useful. Best of luck with your report!

Posted on: Sun, 02/08/2015 - 1:30pm
peanutfreechildren's picture
Joined: 02/04/2012 - 06:42

i am a parent of a 15 year old PA & TN boy that lives in the midwest in Illinois. we have attended both private and public schools. The privatte school was less aware of allergens and did not want to make it thier priority. For High school our school is not aware of how to handle this allergen but any time I call the school they always go to the nurse and further educate themselves before contacting me back. Our nurse is now going to start giving mini classes at all the teacher meetings too get all staff members caught up on this growing allergen in the schools. i am very pleased that our school is making all allergies in the school a priority at this point since the lack of awareness is there. That being said I do still have to make sure that I am always on top of it at all times. As for the Epi pen my son has always been allowed to carry one on him and the other in the office. They did not want him to carry it but with a doctors note there was little they could do. also all his teachers are taught by the nurse on how to use it properly. By the end of the year all staff will know how to handle all the allergens within the school along with those that may happen in the future. I hope that all schools in the future teach those that are responsible for our children to protect those that have a hidden disability.

Posted on: Mon, 02/09/2015 - 12:17am
abchouk2@gmail.com's picture
Joined: 08/22/2013 - 02:23

One problem Other "allergy parents" and I used to come up against was having the EpiPens locked-up in the health room, and inside a locked cabinet. 9 years ago, the nurse was not at school the entire day, which was a challenge for any medical emergency outside of the nurse's hours, when time and access to treatment are critical. We voiced our concerns to the administration, but were only taken seriously when, during a meeting between the principal and a few of us "allergy parents," The principal went to check on the EpiPen supply, and was able to unlock and get into the health room, but could not get the cabinet of medications, where the EpiPens were also locked, to open--with the correct key. Not only were the Emergency treatment medications moved into a different storage cabinet, which was out-of-reach of elementary school students but unlocked, but within a year the district change their policy to have a full-time school nurse, present during all regular school hours, in every elementary school. And Food allergy training for health room staff, and many others, became standard as well.

Posted on: Mon, 02/09/2015 - 1:50am
RobS's picture
Joined: 09/18/2006 - 09:00

We found out our now 10 year old son is allergic to peanuts when my wife decided to have him tested due to the fact that she had two brothers who are PA. He reacted very strongly to the scratch test. Ever since, we have been ultra careful and, knock on wood, he's never had a reaction.
We carry an Epipen everywhere and made sure his classroom teacher, afterschool program, and office have them (which we have always had to buy). Our school is not officially Peanut Free, but the principal has sent reminders to parents not to send peanut butter sandwiches to school with their kids to respect the safety of PA kids, but some parents don't listen

Posted on: Mon, 02/09/2015 - 6:43am
brady_kerri's picture
Joined: 01/20/2011 - 06:38

I am a teacher and have multiple anaphylactic allergies and my son is anaphylactic to nuts. I have to say that the schools I have been involved with are very well informed as I do a lot of the staff training. I think people have to be aware of what the school's responsibility is and enforce it. Two years ago I had a severe reaction. I was unconscious and had a seizure. If it wasn't for the quick thinking of my principal I would be dead. In my experience those who deal with this in their personal lives are far more understanding then those who do not. But like most things people have to advocate for themselves or their child or else nothing will happen.

Posted on: Mon, 03/09/2015 - 6:30am
Reneev123's picture
Joined: 07/21/2014 - 21:23

Hello my name is Renee Branco. I live in Murrieta Ca. I have a 5 year old son who I can not put in school out here.He has a severe peanut allergy. All of the schools here serve and allow peanut butter. They will not get rid of it. This did not happen at school. My son almost passed way from touching a cran with peanut butter oil on it. You could not see anything on the cran,but could smell peanut butter oil on them. He touch one,got very itchy and started rubbed his eyes. The peanut butter oil,went in his system threw the eye. All of the schools out here will not give him the epi pen if something like this were to happen. They say, he has to give it to himself.They are only allowed to guide him to give to himself. How can a 5 year old, who is fainting from blood pressure dropping,while vomitting,eyes swelling shut,lips getting huge , while his throat is closing HELP HIMSELF!! Please investigate Murrieta schools and the district.

Posted on: Mon, 03/09/2015 - 1:22pm
RobS's picture
Joined: 09/18/2006 - 09:00

That sounds awful, Renee! I would go directly to the school board or superintendent, and tell them this will be brought up as an ADA issue. I can't imagine why a school would act so horribly and totally backwards!

Posted on: Tue, 03/10/2015 - 11:30pm
jennlee_f@yahoo.com's picture
Joined: 02/27/2015 - 13:52

I live in the midwest and have a son with severe allergy to peanuts. We recently had this discussion at a support meeting I attended that had an allergist as a guest speaker. He said something that opened my eyes to managing epi-pens. The parents expressed concern about epi's being stored in the nurses office when they are so far away from the classrooms where food is sometimes consumed. He said stand in the spot where the child is consuming the food and run to the area where the epi is stored...without breathing...If you can't make it, neither can a child who is experiencing a life threatening reaction. I'm going to order a bunch more of epis and ensure they are in the same room that my son would potentially consume food. What can a few more epis hurt?

Posted on: Sat, 03/14/2015 - 3:42pm
Reneev123's picture
Joined: 07/21/2014 - 21:23

Thank You, for your help.

More Community Posts

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

create a new community post
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/21/2019 - 10:37am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/21/2019 - 10:31am
Comments: 172
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/19/2019 - 11:01am
Comments: 478
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/19/2019 - 10:51am
Comments: 3
Latest Post by william robenstein Mon, 11/18/2019 - 10:35am
Comments: 1
Latest Post by sunshinestate Sun, 11/17/2019 - 1:16pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by absfabs Fri, 11/15/2019 - 5:32pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by Italia38 Tue, 11/12/2019 - 2:43pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by absfabs Mon, 11/11/2019 - 1:23pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by Italia38 Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:10pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by Italia38 Fri, 11/08/2019 - 11:47am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/07/2019 - 3:43pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/07/2019 - 2:48pm
Comments: 7

More Articles

It’s the time of year when holiday parties, and family gatherings can make allergen avoidance more problematic. Whether you celebrate Christmas,...

When love is in the air we can get caught up in the moment and throw caution to the wind. However, if you have a...

Food allergies and sensitivities are on the rise. Almost everyone knows someone who has problems with at least one food. The most common food...

Peanuts and Nuts Can Trigger An Asthma Attack

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI), more than 3...

The relationship between anxiety and food or other allergy is a complicated and puzzling one. Research has shown that stress can exacerbate...

More Articles

More Articles

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, over 50 million people in the U.S. have allergies. Today's allergy tests...

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) addresses the labeling of packaged food products regulated by the FDA....

For people who suffer from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can result from an allergy to...

Anaphylactic shock (A-nuh-fih-LAK-tik shok): A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been...

In 1963 the American Medical Association designed a special symbol that would alert emergency medical personnel of special medical conditions when...

Finding allergy-free foods for an office potluck may seem impossible, but more options are available than you might think. Eating foods prepared...

One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is determine whether his or her toddler has a cold or a...

You no doubt have your own way of teaching people about your child’s food allergy, a way that suits your temperament, and style of communication....

Reliable peanut allergy statistics are not that easy to come by. There is a lot of available research on food allergies in general but not too...

Most people know that to enjoy whatever food safety accommodations an airline offers they need to inform the airline of their allergy prior to...

A 504 plan* documents food allergy accommodations agreed to by parents and their child’s school. Plans are typically created during a 504 meeting...

If there is a child at your children's school allergic to peanuts, the school probably discourages or may not allow peanut products to be brought...

If you are on a budget, but you need to wear some sort of notification that you have a peanut...

Unless we consciously carve out time for self-care, constant food allergy management can slowly erode our sense of well-being. Signs of allergy-...

Peanuts cause more severe food allergic reactions than other foods, followed by shellfish, fish, tree nuts and eggs. Although there is only a...