Last April, providing enough time for schools to prepare, Virginia adopted a law requiring schools to carry epinephrine auto-injectors like the EpiPen.
As most families with severe allergies know, when used effectively, the EpiPen delivers a single dose of epinephrine, or adrenaline, into the thigh of someone suffering a life-threatening allergic reaction. It is a lifesaving intervention.
Anaphylaxis is always sudden; schools must prepare
You can’t stop kids at school from sharing foods or inadvertently touching or smelling the foods they are allergic to. The only you can do is prepare. Tiffany Glass Ferreira whose son suffers from nut allergies supports the new legislation. After he son’s near death experience with cashew, she asked, “’How can I stop this from happening again?’ and another mom said to me, ‘You can’t. It’s going to happen again. You can’t think ‘if’ they have a reaction. You have to think ‘when’,” Ferreira explained.
Legislation protects students, teachers and schools
When Sen. Donal McEachin (D-Richmond) introduced the legislation that is exactly what he was thinking. “The EpiPen bill does two things. For those with jurisdictions that already had…. The EpiPens in the schools, it allows them to have enough flexibility to continue handling the EpiPen issue the way they have been handling it,” McEachin said. “For everybody else, it writes a protocol as to the need to have an EpiPen in the school, who can administer it and who can write prescriptions for it, because at the end of the day, it’s a medicine and it has to be prescribed.” School nurses and other key school employees must be trained to use the auto-injectors.
Preparation is the best defense
With more allergies being reported and more schools being concerned about uncontrollable exposure, the new legislation ensures that the schools are ready for a worst case scenario by protecting their students with lifesaving medication.