I just read a story in the Houston Chronicle about a new law in Tennessee. It makes it legal for schools to stock Epi pens for use on any student who may need it. (In the past, it's been difficult for schools to use an Epi Pen unless that student had a prescription.) It also provides legal protection for the staff member who uses it. If anyone in the school has an allergic reaction, a staff member can use the Epi Pen to save their life. Way to go Tennessee!!!!
You may think, "Well, my son or daughter doesn't have food allergies, so I'm not going to worry about it!" Yeah, that's what I thought once too! Boy, was I wrong!
The Chronicle article states that:
"About a quarter of anaphylaxis cases in schools occur among students who are not aware that they have an allergy." Yikes!!!!!
We didn't know that our son was allergic to tree nuts until one day about 10 years ago, when he ate a piece of bread at a family member's house. He took a few bites and said "Mom, I don't feel so good." I couldn't figure out why he would suddenly feel sick and say his throat was itchy. I looked at his slice of bread but couldn't see anything. Then I looked at the bread in the bag. I could see a few tiny pieces of chopped walnuts on the bread. I asked the family member why there were chopped nuts on top of the slices of French Bread. They said that they put the French bread in a bag that had previously had chopped walnuts in it.
I can't remember what happened after that, it was all a blur. I do remember that we went to see Asthma Doc. They did a skin prick test on Son #2's back, and Asthma Doc said that he is indeed allergic to tree nuts.
What if something like that were to happen to your son our daughter while they were at school? It's rare, but it can happen. There are all sorts of things that can cause an allergic reaction. The article lists:
"Aside from bee stings, anaphylactic shock can be a reaction to such foods as peanuts, wheat, shellfish, milk or eggs. The epinephrine is particularly effective in stopping swelling in the throat or tongue that can be deadly, as well as preventing respiratory or cardiac failure."
One little boy in the article was stung by a wasp. That caused hives on his neck and made him have a hard time breathing. The nurse gave him an injection of Epinephrine. She reports that at the emergency room, the doctor told the family that they are lucky that he was still alive. Without the injection, he may not have made it to the hospital, which was 30 minutes away. Sheesh!
If you have kids in school, talk to your principal and see if your school stocks Epi Pens. Son #2 carries an Epi Pen with him at all times. But what about the students who may not know that they have a food allergy, and have their first reaction at school? Our school district stocks Epi Pen in EVERY school, every year. Just in case.........