President Obama recently signed legislation that made it possible for states to give schools the power to keep the emergency medication epinephrine, commonly known as an EpiPen, in schools to treat kids with life-threatening allergic reactions, even if the child doesn’t have a prescription for the medication. This is great news, considering the sharp rise in serious food related allergies in the United States.
It is estimated that one in 13 children have a food allergy. For most classrooms, this would mean two kids are statistically at risk for a serious, if not life-threatening, allergic reaction. What’s even more unsettling is the fact that 20 to 30 percent of allergic reactions that happen in schools happen to children who have never been diagnosed as having a food allergy.
It is important to remember that many allergies develop over time, and a severe reaction can seem to come out of the blue. Also, while food allergies are the most common allergen causing life-threatening reactions, other allergens do exist in the school setting, such as bee stings and latex.