Several months ago, a law was passed by the California legislature mandating the injectable epinephrine be stocked in all schools. The law, SB 1226 was signed by Governor Brown and goes into effect in 2015. In years past if a child had food allergies, the parents were responsible to bring the child’s epinephrine injector device into the school with a signed note from his/her doctor allowing them to keep it in the nurses office. Now all schools must carry one to be in situations where anaphylaxis is occurring.
School nurses or emergency personnel will have to be trained in each school. Training will be done every 5 years for those persons identified in each school who will be administering it. It is recommended that 2-3 persons in each school should be trained to use it. The law does not mandate epinephrine to be taken to off site school activities such as school trips. Each school should obtain epinephrine from a local physician or clinic. It is recommended that each school should have a minimum of 2 auto-injectors.
The law does not specify which brand to obtain, there are a number available such as Epi-Pen and Auvi-Q. The devices operate in different ways, so its critical that the personnel trained are familiar with which device that they are using. Currently Mylan Speciality Inc., makers of Epi-Pen and Epi-Pen Jr. will provide 4 free devices for each school site through www.epipen4schools.org.
This is good news for all parents who have children with food allergies. 1 in 13 children have food allergies according to some studies and the time to give epinephrine is critical to save a child’s life who is experiencing anaphylaxis.