Should EpiPens Be Supplied In All Schools?

November 16, 2017
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Following the tragic death of 3-year-old Elijah Silvera at a Harlem school, thousands of parents have started a petition for city schools to have EpiPens available to them.

3-year-old Elijah died after being given a grilled cheese sandwich despite his severe dairy allergy at his school in Harlem. Had his school had an EpiPen, things could have been so different for the now grieving family.

EpiPens are a lifesaving must have for people with severe allergies. An EpiPen is used to treat severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to insect stings or bites, foods, drugs, and other allergens.

Thousands of parents in New York City have signed the online petition which is asking the newly re-elected Mayor Bill de Blasio to supply EpiPens to all New York City Schools. People are campaigning for EpiPens to be provided everywhere and then to train staff how to use them and not just to buildings with trained nurses.

PIX11 News reports that they spend last Tuesday afternoon contacting school districts from Ramsey and Bogota in Bergen County, New Jersey, Yonkers across the Hudson River in Westchester County, to Valley Stream and Farmingdale in Nassau County, Long Island, as well as Port Jefferson and Babylon in Suffolk County.

All of the above-mentioned school districts said that they either have someone on their staff ready to administer an emergency EpiPen dose if required, have free EpiPens on hand to staff or they have lunch aides walking around with them.

According to various research conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. The number of people affected by allergies is also increasing, with around 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children affected.

Interestingly, researchers believe that nasal allergies affect around 50 million people in the United States alone, while allergic conditions are the most common health issues affecting children in the U.S.

Food allergies are a bit concern with 200,000 people visiting the emergency room each year because of a food allergy. However, medicine related allergies have caused the most deaths.

njfamily.com

The most common foods to cause allergic reactions are dairy products like milk, soy and eggs then wheat, peanuts and tree nuts and fish and shellfish. Peanut is the most common allergen followed by milk then shellfish according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.

Between 4-6% of children are affected by food allergies, according to the CDC with 4.2 million children affected in 2015. As we know, strict avoidance of the known food allergen is the only way to totally prevent a reaction.

The CDC have said, “since it is not always easy or possible to avoid certain foods, staff in schools and early care and education programs (ECE) should develop plans for preventing an allergic reaction and responding to a food allergy emergency, including anaphylaxis. Early and quick recognition and treatment can prevent serious health problems or death.”

Here’s hoping this new petition can help towards the CDC’s goal.

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