Parents Advocate for Michigan Schools to Stock EpiPens

Friday, April 27, 2012

What's bugging you Mid-Michigan? Some local parents say EpiPens not being required in all schools is what's bugging them.

Six million children in the US have food allergies -- the number one cause of anaphylaxis, severe allergic reactions that can be fatal. Immediate access to epinephrine, an anti-allergen, can save a child's life.

Currently, there is no state wide policy for schools to deal with life-threatening allergies, and many parents and health care advocates are looking to change that.

Jaime Lewis has two young kids with allergies. Her son Lincoln is two years old. "My son is allergic to milk, casein, wheat, and environmental products like fragrance," Lewis said.

That means Lewis has to take extra precautions for her children. "With allergies, you never know," said Lewis. "With children, it's a lot more severe and the reaction time is less, so you just never know what you're getting into."

And what kids get into can be fatal Dr. Chris Pohlod says allergic reactions are unpredictable, and the most severe can cause anaphylaxis. "The best way to be treated for anaphylactic shock is to number one, know what's happening," said Dr. Pohlod. "And then number two, give what's called epinephrine, in pre-filled syringes. It's extremely important to have the necessary medicine on hand to do that."

An EpiPen typically costs around $100. Dr. Pohlod says anyone who administers an EpiPen should be well-trained, but there's not much risk if accidentally used on a child who is not in anaphylactic shock.

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