Epi-Pens Saving Lives on School Campuses
From the Washoe County School District:
Since the Nevada legislature passed a law in 2013 requiring school districts to keep a supply of epinephrine shots ("EpiPens") at each school in case any student suffers a life-threatening allergic reaction, two students in the Washoe County School District have received the shots on an emergency basis while at school.
"As allergy specialists and pediatricians have known for years, a shot of epinephrine is critical to saving the life of anyone suffering symptoms of severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis," said Dana Balchunas, director of the WCSD Student Health Services Department. "There have been tragic situations in other states where students have died at school because the drug was not available before 911 arrived. Now school staff at all WCSD schools are trained and ready to respond if the worst happens."
These efforts paid off when, on Feb. 12, an 8th-grade student complained of an inability to swallow, difficulty breathing, and a rash after he sampled a variety of foods during cooking class. While the staff called 911 and the school's code blue team responded, school nurse Robin Reinders grabbed an EpiPen from the clinic cupboard and administered a dose into the student's thigh. By the time the ambulance arrived, the student's symptoms had subsided and his mother took him to the emergency room for further treatment and observation.
"This student had no history of allergies, but his symptoms were sudden and severe," said Reinders, "I'm just glad we had the medication right there or things could have turned out differently."
Two days later, on Feb. 14, the scenario repeated itself when a 9th-grader suffered symptoms of anaphylaxis during lunch. The school nurse was not on campus this time but the staff immediately called 911 and administered an EpiPen while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Today the student is back in school and feeling fine, according to the school nurse.
"These stories leave no doubt how important it is for school staff to recognize symptoms of anaphylaxis and be prepared to take immediate action by administering an EpiPen," said Balchunas. "Our hope is that we never have to use them, but they are there if they're needed."
From Washoe County School District