In 2013, President Obama signed the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. It gives states the opportunity for specific federal grants if they prepare for severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks in public schools. Read on to learn what this can mean for your family and if your state allocates epinephrine pens for schools.
Who Benefits from the Emergency Epinephrine Act?
The Emergency Epinephrine Act exists to encourage schools to plan for severe asthma attacks and allergic reactions. The Act aims to serve children with asthma and food allergies; however, it ultimately benefits the interests of any child with an allergy.
How Does the Act Influence Epinephrine Pens for Schools?
The law allows the Department of Health and Human Services to provide funding preferences to states for grants. To qualify, all schools in the state must:
- Maintain an emergency supply of epinephrine pens for schools
- Ensure staff is trained and available to administer medication properly during school hours
- Address liability concerns for those who administer the medication in good faith
Ultimately, the Emergency Epinephrine Act hopes to relieve parents’ anxiety. Now, legislation holds states accountable for their allergy emergency preparedness. This is excellent news for families with known and unknown severe allergies.
HOW CAN I KNOW HOW PREPARED MY SCHOOL IS?
First, it’s always a great idea to talk directly with teachers and school personnel about allergic reactions—whether your child has exhibited allergies or not. Make sure you know the individuals responsible for responding to this type of situation and hear their emergency plans. Ask about the school’s supply of epinephrine pens. Doing so is helpful for the school, as it holds them accountable. Asking about epinephrine is also beneficial to you. Hopefully, a conversation like this can relieve concerns.
Secondly, you can check how your state performs against the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s 23 key guidelines. The guidelines fall under three central policies: school environment, awareness, and medication and treatment. The most recent report from 2019 is available on their website, along with their honor roll. If a state meets at least 18 of the 23 guidelines, they receive honorable status.
Check on your state’s best public policies for people with allergies and asthma in U.S. elementary, middle, and high schools at aafa.org.