North Carolina law requires schools stock EpiPens

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New legislation in North Carolina requires that all schools maintain a supply of emergency EpiPens at all times.

Until this point, area students with life-threatening allergies have been allowed to keep EpiPens in their desks, backpacks, lunchboxes, and lockers. But what about students who don’t even realize they have an allergy, and suffer a sudden reaction on school property? Now parents can heave a sigh of relief that there are going to be devices in the building, no matter what.

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The new budget also requires that North Carolina schools have a staff member trained in how to administer the epinephrine shot. While the packaging does provide instructions — and some devices even have verbal prompts to help the user figure it out — many people feel nervous about giving the shot without a bit of training.

In a statement from the North Carolina Pediatric Society, president Dr. John Rusher strongly supported the new requirement:

“Children spend half their day in school, where they can encounter life-threatening allergens, such as bee stings, for the first time. All students need access to epinephrine, which slows the effects of an allergic reaction in the critical minutes following exposure.”

It has yet to be determined when the EpiPens are going to be available. School starts in North Carolina next week, but the district is waiting on implementation details from the Department of Public Instruction.

Virgina passed a similiar law in 2012 after a seven-year-old girl died after accidentally eating a peanut at her elementary school.

South Carolina passed the law in 2013, and the state’s Safe Access to Vital Epinephrine Act (“SAVE” Act) allowed schools to store extra EpiPens in case of emergencies — to be used on any student, even if they did not have a prescription on file.

The North Carolina Pediatric Society says 45 states now have laws or guidelines that either require or allow stock auto-injectors to be kept in schools. To learn more about epinephrine stocking legislation and to take action on current bills, please visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s Action Center.

H/T to Charlotte Observer

Heather Laura Clarke, a contributing writer at Scratch or Sniff, lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, with her high-school sweetheart husband, seven-year-old son, and five-year-old daughter. She writes for newspapers and magazines across Canada and the U.S., and blogs about her family life at Heather's Handmade Life. Follow her adventures on Twitter or Instagram.

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