ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va -- For the first time, public schools are required to keep Epinephrine on hand. Most people know these things as “Epi-pens.”
Now, all public school employees will be trained to deal with life threatening allergic reactions. Harrisonburg City Schools are picking staff members to be trained in more detail on how to use the Epi-pen.
Nurse Coordinator Pam Mason has a good idea who she thinks would be a good pick.
"Every nurse in every school, all physical educators, and probably one or two in the office, if by chance they would be first on hand," said Mason.
The schools will have their stock Epi-pens by the first day of school.
"The DOE (Department of Education) is recommending four doses per school. Two adult doses, and two pediatric doses."
School Nurse Angela Knupp said most of us think by high school, we would know if we had allergies, but sometimes it is not that clear.
"Elementary school I would see it being more of an issue, and see it being more readily used,” said Knupp. “In all the 16 years that I've been here, I don't think I've ever had an undiagnosed allergy cause an anaphylactic reaction, where we would've needed Epinephrine."
But Harrisonburg High School has a nursery with small children who have not yet been exposed to certain foods or allergens.
"We technically could have undiagnosed allergies with my little ones, so we will have doses for them," said Knupp.
Any way you look at it, it cannot hurt to have Epinephrine readily available.
"It gives us a safety net to be able to provide safe care for our kids when they are at school."
That safe care can save lives.
"Any time you can save a life if you need it is worth it," said Mason.
The pens are marked with clear instructions. Just three basic steps that are right on the label. First, remove the safety release. Then swing and firmly push the pen into the outer thigh. Hold it in for 10-seconds to make sure the medicine is completely injected.
About 6-million children in the country have some sort of serious allergy that could lead to a life threatening situation.
For more information about treating allergic reactions in school visit here: Virginia Department of Education
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