EpiPens save lives. It’s easy & quick to use: even children can self-inject once their doctor determines that they’re ready. So someone experiencing anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, can begin treatment right away.
Legally, one can only administer epinephrine to someone who has been diagnosed with an allergy & has been prescribed for an EpiPen. However, after the death of 7-year-old Amarria Johnson in Virginia, legislation has been passed to change that. Amarria suffered an anaphylaxis episode in her Chesterfield County elementary school this past January when she was reportedly given a peanut by her friend. Emergency crews were unable to resuscitate her.
After the death of 7-year-old Amarria Johnson, legislation has been passed to change regulations on EpiPens.
This gave rise to a national debate whether schools should carry EpiPens and provide training for it’s staff. They would then be able to administer epinephrin whenever an anaphylaxis episode occurs regardless of the existence of a diagnosis or prescription. The safety margin for increased usage seems to be a non-issue: even if the pen is used when it’s not needed, there is no harm done & side effects are minimal. Finally, Virginia became the first state to require schools to have EpiPens & trained staff at the ready.
» The Trend Gains Steam
This is not a localized development. There is a bill that was introduced in Albany, NY to put EpiPens in all schools. School nurses in Ohio are pushing for EpiPens in school to be used for any patient. There’s a big push for a similar in Arizona. To top it all off, a representative of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network indicated that they are pushing for a national measure along the same lines.
It seems that EpiPens are going in a similar direction as that of defibrillators in terms of availability. As more & more children suffer from life-threatening allergies (One survey found that in 2008, one in 70 children was allergic to peanuts, compared with one in 250 in 1997), it’s important for emergency, life-saving equipment to be available. It’s important for people to be trained & allowed to take action when an emergency arises, even if the patient had no prescription or history of allergies. The future looks a little brighter for affected children.
What do you think abut this trend? Let us know in the comments.