EpiPen Policy Needs More Than This…
My oldest daughter is severely allergic to a few things, mildly allergic to a couple of other things, and has an intolerance to dairy. She also has had Analphylactic reactions. Ones so bad, her lips not only swell along with her tongue, but that her lips and nails turn blue as she breaks out in hives from head to toe and she itches feverishly.
Just today I had read in my local ABC news affiliate’s web article, that soon, Virginia’s Governor McDonnell will sign a new law in Richmond to having a requirement “that each school carry epinephrine auto-injectors and adopt policies on how nurses and employees use them by the upcoming school year. ”
To read the article, CLICK HERE.
As a parent of a child that requires these pens, I say that one should be within reach in EVERY classroom. Not only that, but also, those with VALID medical papers for the requirement of use/need, that those students, from 4th or 5th grade and up, should be able to carry them on their person. Be it in a pouch pack, in their backpack.
Anaphlaxysis is a serious and life-threatening condition, and EVERY single second counts when it comes to getting to an available injector. Those with these allergic reactions cannot wait up to five minutes for their shot due to “proper protocols” as it stands now within the school system.
If anyone in these schools within my city have ever seen someone that they love and/or care about have Anaphylaxis, then I know that they would be behind me on this. It’s not something I take pleasure in seeing. Because, my daughter’s airway is compromised, as are all of her major internal organs. And yes, they CAN swell. Not just the outside of your body. Your insides take a beating, too. To watch your child fight for air, with fear in her eyes, barely being able to talk because her tongue is swelling more and more, along with her windpipe, it is truly one of a parent’s nightmares that you never think will happen until it does.
These EpiPens are filled with Epinephrine. What that does, once injected in to the thigh of the person, it slows down the rate of the reaction and helps open the airways back up from being constricted from swelling. Then, after the injection is given, which can also affect the heart, you have to call 911 to go by ambulance to the hospital. From there, they take over the care of the person.
EpiPens are only for those with severe reactions, which is coined as “Anaphylaxis”. And they save lives! But they cannot do their job if they are too far out of reach to the victim. My daughter could be anywhere within 4 different floors of her school when a reaction could take place. And that makes it hard on her to get to her auto-injector. They have to locate the nurse, have the nurse pull HER pen (not another student’s), go to her, possibly all the way up to the 4th floor, and hope that she still has time to inject my kid.
In the end, the waiting CAN kill my child.
That to me is unacceptable. Not just for my daughter’s sake, but for all children like her. And they need to have one near by, even if it means in EVERY classroom, along with letting the children that are old enough and mature enough to carry one around on themselves. Then, there is no question in timing. Pull it out and push it in to the leg.
Timing is everything when it comes to saving a life.