Nearly 100 Montgomery County students experienced life-threatening allergic reactions last school year, leading school officials to authorize school nurses to use EpiPens when necessary.
According to Montgomery County Board of Education data, 27 of the 97 students who developed anaphylaxis were not known to be susceptible to serious allergies and even more did not have life-saving medicine on file with the school’s nurse.
The Board voted last week to authorize nurses and other school administrators to give any student in anaphylaxis an injectable medication, even if that student doesn’t have the medication on file or isn’t known to have an associated allergy.
Policy JPD, as the edict is named, is in response to a Senate law that requires local school boards to create rules on the use of epinephrine auto-injectors, known by the brand name EpiPen.
Anaphylaxis is commonly triggered by food allergies, insect bites and allergies to common drugs like aspirin, according to the National Institutes of Health online medical encyclopedia. Symptoms like vomiting, difficulty swallowing or breathing and even unconsciousness, can develop quickly and 911 should be called immediately, NIH said.
In Montgomery County, all 97 students who suffered the reaction were treated by emergency medical professionals. Nurses administered an EpiPen for 39 of the students after 911 was called.
The Board is seeking public comment on the policy before it takes final action on Oct. 22. Read the full policy here.