Yesterday, the Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, signed a bill requiring public schools to stock epinephrine for the treatment of allergic reactions, and to adopt and implement policies for administering the potentially life-saving medication.

According toForbes,while many students who have previously suffered anaphylactic allergic reactions will carry an epinephrine injector (commonly known as an Epi-Pen) for their own use, not all do. In some cases, students may experience their first allergic reaction, caused by a previously undiscovered allergy, while at school.

In such situations, school personnel can administer epinephrine from their own stock of epinephrine injectors – but only if they have one. The new law would require schools to keep epinephrine on hand for exactly this kind of emergency. The Epi-Pens kept at the school would be available to treat any student experiencing an allergic reactions, not only those who have a prescription for epinephrine.

The law was prompted by the death of Amarria Johnson, who died in Virginia earlier this year after being exposed to peanuts at her school. Marie Acebal, CEO of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (CEO) is lobbying for federal legislation that would provide incentives for other states to enact similar laws. So far, Virginia joins seven other states which have already passed school epinephrine laws.

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