By Julie Wiessner
Help is now available for Arizona school aged children who experience a severe allergic reaction while at school. A bill signed into law Tuesday by Governor Jan Brewer allows school districts to keep emergency epinephrine auto injectors on hand in each school for such events.
Allergic reactions can occur any time, anywhere. Most people who experience an allergic reaction did not know they were allergic to a substance or food until it happens the first time.
Children who do not yet know they are allergic to something and perhaps have not been allergic before can experience a terrible reaction or even death.
Passage of the law can be traced to incidents that have happened at schools. A boy in Virginia died from an allergic reaction to a peanut. Another incident involved a girl who had a severe reaction and now needs around the clock care from healthcare professionals.
Of the law’s passage, Winslow School Superintendent Doug Watson said, “If it is funded, all schools will be required to have it (emergency epinephrine auto injectors) on hand. If it is not funded, schools will have the option to keep it on hand, but it won’t be required.”
According to Watson, “The prices for epinephrine auto injectors at Walmart are currently $153.54 per adult and $323.32 for a child’s two-pack. In a new policy coming through the district, there is a suggestion to have at least two each adult and child doses at each school.”
The Winslow School District Governing Board will first find out if there is funding available for the auto injectors and proceed from there.
Joseph City School Superintendent Robert Klein said, “We are currently addressing a policy around that law and will probably forge ahead with it, even if the state does not provide funding for it. Hopefully, they will give the training and the funding for the emergency epinephrine auto injectors.”
Snowflake School Superintendent Hollis Merrell noted that he had not yet had a chance to sit down and go over the policy thoroughly yet. However, he said, “If we are allowed to stock the emergency epinephrine auto injectors, we will do it.”
As of press time, Holbrook School Superintendent Dr. Robbie Koerperich could not be reached for comment.
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By Julie Wiessner