Federal Law Urges Stocks Of Allergy Medication In Schools - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Federal Law Urges Stocks Of Allergy Medication In Schools

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MARYLAND - When students across the country return to the classroom from the holiday break, they may be better protected against what's for lunch, and the allergic reactions the meals can cause.

A federal law took effect January 1, and urges schools to stock epinephrine injectors - or EpiPens - for general use, not just for those with specific food allergies.

"The number one risk factor that occurs in death from a food allergy reaction is delayed administration of epinephrine," said Dr. David Stukus of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Experts say the number of children with food allergies has gone up 50 percent in just 17 years, and a growing number of children are having their first allergic reaction at school.

"There's no reason why we shouldn't have something in schools that could save a child's life," said Dr. Sarah Denny, whose child has a food allergy.

Maryland already has a law that requires each county to establish a plan for using the medication, and Delaware has a similar policy. Virginia - however - does not.

While experts say the move is helpful for those who may suffer an unexpected reaction, Dr. Stukus urges parents of children with known allergies to remain proactive in protecting their children.

"What we still want to impress upon every parent of a child who has a food allergy is - most important - to have an individualized food allergy treatment plan," Stukus said. "You need to communicate with your child's school, make sure their teachers are aware, and they have their own self-injectable epinephrine pen available."

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