Did you know that stock epinephrine is a thing? It's true! Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is a medication that can stop and treat the life-threatening allergic reaction “anaphylaxis.” Young children may have their first allergic reaction at their preschool or daycare center, so it is important that centers not just have epinephrine but also know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to anaphylaxis. That's where stock epinephrine laws come in – they provide protections for centers to stock this medication and help keep kids safe.
So what exactly is stock epinephrine?
In short, it's epinephrine prescribed to an entity, such as a school, to be used in an allergy emergency. The medication is typically stored in an easily accessible location, such as a nurse's office or main office, and can be administered by trained personnel. Epinephrine, when administered from an auto-injector like an EpiPen, is incredibly safe. In fact, it's so safe that states across the country have adopted legislation that supports or sometimes even requires schools to stock epinephrine.
Unfortunately, not all states have stock epinephrine legislation for K-12 school entities, and fewer states have laws that permit preschools and daycares to stock epinephrine. That is currently the case in Louisiana. Louisiana schools are permitted to stock epinephrine, but Louisiana code does not currently protect early childhood programs in stocking epinephrine. Until now…
The Bayou State is Protecting its Babies
My friend State Representative Stephanie Hilferty and I have been working on stock epinephrine legislation for early learning centers, such as preschools and daycares. Rep. Hilferty recently testified to the Louisiana House of Representatives Education Committee that her little boy has food allergy. She was surprised at the lack of protections children have regarding allergic reactions in early childhood programs: because children in this age group cannot always vocalize that they have a food allergy or, worse, cannot verbalize when they are starting to feel an allergic reaction beginning, these children are at risk of delayed recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis. Such delays increase the risk of death from an allergic reaction.
To help protect all infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, Rep. Hilferty has sponsored Louisiana HB417. I was honored to testify to the Louisiana House of Representatives Education Committee in support of this legislation. It will add stock epinephrine training to the medication administration training that licensed centers already complete, and it will protect centers, center personnel, and epinephrine training organizations (like Code Ana) in their pursuit of creating safer centers for children with and without known food allergies. This means that centers would be able to stock epinephrine auto-injectors to be used during an allergy emergency!
While the bill passed in the Louisiana House of Representatives, it still needs to pass in thee Senate and make its way to the Governor's desk for signature. We will keep you updated as the bill progresses.
In the meantime, if you are interested in stock epinephrine legislation in your state, please visit the Code Ana website to learn more and take action. Code Ana is a national program supported by The Teal Schoolhouse, a nonprofit organization working on behalf of the millions of families whose loved ones have food allergies.
Are you in need of an allergist in your area? Check out these allergist finder tools:
AAAAI Allergist Finder: https://allergist.aaaai.org/find/
ACAAI Allergist Finder: https://acaai.org/locate-an-allergist
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A note from Dr. Hoyt
I have talked about a non-profit…
Pam and I volunteer with the non-profit The Teal Schoolhouse. Its primary program is Code Ana. Code Ana equips schools for medical emergencies like anaphylaxis.
Code Ana’s Online Epinephrine Training Program helps support that goal. Through this program, you will educate yourself while you support this important mission!
A medical emergency response plan is important for everyone at any school. Code Ana's program Med-E Ready is a comprehensive approach to school-focused medical preparedness. This program guides schools through the process of creating a medical emergency response plan. A response team is also developed! This is one of the most important components of a school's food allergy policy!
Does your kiddo’s school have Code Ana?