[October 9th] In the 2011-2012 school year, an estimated 4,000 Montgomery County Public Schools students were known to be affected by anaphylaxis. According to BOE statistics, among the ninety seven students who experienced reactions to anaphylaxis, thirty five did not receive any treatment because no nurse was given the permission to apply epinephrine.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic response towards seemingly harmless chemicals, particularly those found in medications and synthetic foods. Symptoms of this condition, including welling, hives, lowered blood pressure, cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, require immediate medical attention. Due to the dangers of anaphylaxis, the Board of Education has adopted Policy JPD, a short-term for ‘Emergency Care for Students Experiencing Anaphylaxis’.
The policy originated in response to Maryland Senate Bill-621, which requires local BOEs to revise regulations regarding use of epinephrine auto injectors. Policy JPD permits school nurses or administrators who are trained (or to be trained) to administer epinephrine to students experiencing anaphylaxis-related allergy. This policy ensures immediate care and attention for students as it allows schools to store epinephrine in health rooms. However, current policy states that epinephrine can only be applied to students who were unaware of their Anaphylaxis condition, those who are familiar of such conditions must keep their own epinephrine.
Karen Nugent, school health room aide at Seneca Valley High School, says “If it is a matter of life or death and you want to save that child’s life, you (the nurse) would administer it.”
The policy will be released for public comment until October 22, 2012, when it will be returned to The Board for final voting.
Article by Aman Kaur, SAC press correspondent