Depending on the school district, a child with severe allergies must keep a pair of epinephrine auto-injectors on-site with the school nurse throughout the school year to be used in case of emergency.
If the child self-carries, that’s another set the family must purchase, and often these families keep a set at home in a well-known place to be administered when the unthinkable happens. Considering all of those auto-injectors expire within a year, families often struggle to keep up with the costs of maintaining a supply of the life-saving drug everywhere it is needed.
The school system in Shrewsbury, MA has taken a bold step to help alleviate some of that cost. Since the district already keeps stock epinephrine on-hand in their schools, they have relaxed the requirement that students with allergies keep their own supply of auto-injectors on-site, thus freeing the respective families from spending hundreds each year.
The Massachusetts Medical Society is calling for expanding Shrewsbury’s policies state-wide, potentially saving their residents millions of dollars in wasted epinephrine each year.
We at SnackSafely.com applaud this policy and urge that it be replicated nation-wide.
We do have a concern, however: this policy should not be construed as a reason for children able to self-carry to cease from doing so. Though families can save a large portion of their medical expenses by relying on the school’s stock epinephrine supply, all kids that can self-carry should always have two of their own auto-injectors with them at all times.
In an anaphylactic emergency, the sooner epinephrine is administered, the better the outcome. There is no substitute for a person self-administering when they feel the first hints of an anaphylactic reaction coming on and no faster way of locating and retrieving epinephrine when they carry it on their person.
What do you think?