Friday, October 11, 2013

Bill extending availability of Epinephrine auto-injectors in Ohio public schools

 “Ohio law currently allows school nurses and student with food allergies possess and use epinephrine (adrenaline) in case of emergencies, but that’s only in the case of students with a known food allergy, “ House Representative Terry Johnson said in introducing HB 296 yesterday with Representative Mike Duffy  “If a child without that kind of standing order for the life‐saving drug has an allergic reaction, a school nurse wouldn’t legally be able to do anything but call 911 even though she or he may have a cabinet full of the stuff. That’s the problem this bill addresses. (ORC per "Possession and use of epinephrine autoinjectors" and "Food allergy protection policies")

   Kate King, president of the Ohio Association of School Nurses, stated in a press release by that group that “Some 30 states already have laws like this, and we know children’s lives have been saved by having undesignated epinephrine in schools. The Chicago school system alone used at least 25 stock epinephrine auto-injectors last year, and with the increase of food allergies among children, it is important to keep in mind that 25 percent of first time reactions happen at school.”

  The Wikipedia article on Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) notes "it is used to treat a number of conditions including: cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis, and superficial bleeding, and has been used historically for bronchospasm and hypoglycemia, as well, although newer treatments for these, such as salbutamol, a synthetic epinephrine derivative, and dextrose, respectively, are currently preferred."

  HB 296 also outlines the training to be provided, the interaction with medical and school nurse professionals as well as the liability protection for the trained employees that administer the dose in a proper manner, and allows use of a program available through a manufacturer to provide up to four auto injectors at no cost to each school that applies for the doses through December 2014.

  The bill is currently im the House Education Committee.

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