This week, Michigan school children got a little bit safer, because EpiPens are now required to be on hand all all Michigan schools. EpiPens are life saving shots of epinephrine. Each Michigan school is now required to have at least two EpiPens and at least two staff members that have been trained to administer them. The law came about due to increasing food allergies among U.S. school children. The new EpiPen law in Michigan was the brainchild of State Representative Lisa Posthumus Lyons, according to WOOD TV.
"I decided to do this bill because I learned that over 25 percent of anaphylactic reactions come from people who didn't even know they had any allergies," Rep. Posthumus Lyons told WOOD TV. "I want to prevent a tragedy before that would even happen here. When it comes to allergies, minutes matter and our schools are now going to be equipped with epinephrin injections so that we can deal with these situations if an emergency arises."
"My baby could be here if there were more trained personnel on the field … an EpiPen or something could have saved him, at least," Josephine Limon, the mother of a boy who died after suffering an allergic reaction to ant bites at his school, told NBC.
Deaths from anaphylaxis, a severe reaction to an allergen, can be prevented with quick administration of an EpiPen. Last year, Medscape reported that deaths from anaphylaxis are way down. This is due to greater awareness of the risks from insect and food allergies. That's good news. The bad news is food allergies are on the rise.
In 2013, Inquisitr writer Kim LaCapria argued the benefit of all schools keeping lifesaving EpiPens on hand. At that time, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, and Virginia all required schools to keep EpiPens on hand to be administered in cases of severe allergic reaction. School hesitation involves liability fears over administering an EpiPen if it is not actually needed or administering it incorrectly.
"There needs to be an aggressive educational campaign geared toward emergency personnel in both the safety of epinephrine and its importance as the first-line therapy for anaphylaxis," Dr. Jacobsen, associate emergency medical services director for the Kansas City Fire Department in Missouri, explained.
"We have to educate our patients about this," he said. "The benefits of epinephrine almost always outweigh the risks, but there's a reluctance to use it. Patients get palpitations, they might get a headache, their heart rate goes up, but it's a potentially life-saving treatment," Dr. Stuart Abramson, of the AAAAI and staff allergist and immunologist at the Shannon Medical Center in Texas, told Medscape.
No Nuts Moms Group maintains a list of tributes remembering loved ones lost to allergy deaths. Food allergies, followed by insect stings and medication reactions, are the biggest contributor to death from anaphylaxis. Many of these deaths happen away from home and in the school setting. As Michigan entered a new school year with EpiPens on hand this week, allergic children in the mitten will be more protected while away from home.
[Photo via Intropin]