(BPT) - Connie Trent, RN, a Health Services Facilitator for nearly 40 schools in Georgia's Forsyth County, well knows the importance of training nurses to identify and treat potentially life-threatening (severe) allergies. Last school year, a student at one of her schools experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, upon trying rye bread for the first time, not knowing she had a food allergy. Fortunately, the school nurse on staff recognized the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and immediately administered an EpiPen®(epinephrine injection) Auto-Injector.
Food allergies, a common cause of anaphylaxis, are on the rise in the U.S., affecting an estimated one in 13 children. Like the student described above, up to 25% of anaphylaxis cases in schools occur in children without a previous allergy diagnosis. For this reason, ensuring access to undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors - epinephrine auto-injectors that aren't prescribed to a particular student or staff member - is a key priority for facilitators and nurses alike.
EpiPen4Schools®, a free, nationwide program offered by Mylan, provides four free EpiPen® or EpiPenJr® (epinephrine injection) Auto-Injectors to qualifying* schools in the U.S.
The schools Connie serves have participated in the EpiPen4Schools® program since it launched in 2012, and, in this past school year alone, EpiPen® Auto-Injectors provided through the program were used in two incidents. Connie and her team understand anaphylaxis can happen for the first time at school, so having both individually-prescribed and undesignated epinephrine in every nurse's office is important.
'My team of nurses and I know that anaphylaxis is unpredictable; life happens, so you've got to be prepared,' explained Trent. 'It's essential to have an anaphylaxis action plan, which includes avoiding known allergens, recognizing the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, being ready to administer an epinephrine auto-injector, and seeking immediate emergency medical care should anaphylaxis occur.'
Recent legislation has improved epinephrine access in the school setting by allowing or requiring schools in many states to stock epinephrine auto-injectors. To date, 47 states have enacted laws or policies allowing or requiring schools to stock undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors.
To learn more about the EpiPen4Schools® program visit EpiPen4Schools.com.
Final Tip from Connie: Early in the school year, parents should be sure to check the expiration date on their child's EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors and obtain a prescription for additional EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors if needed in key locations such as home, school or for after-school activities.
Connie Trent is a spokesperson of Mylan.
*A school will only receive EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors in accordance with all applicable laws. Requirements to qualify for this offer include having a valid prescription. There is no requirement for a school to purchase additional EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors.
Image of students provided by Mylan.
EpiPen® (epinephrine injection) 0.3 mg and EpiPen Jr® (epinephrine injection) 0.15 mg Auto-Injectors are for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) caused by allergens, exercise, or unknown triggers; and for people who are at increased risk for these reactions. EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr® are intended for immediate administration as emergency supportive therapy only. Seek immediate emergency medical help right away.
Important Safety Information
EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors contain a single dose of epinephrine, which you (or your caregiver or others who may be in a position to administer EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr®) inject into the middle of your outer thigh (upper leg) (through clothing, if necessary). Get emergency medical help right away. You may need further medical attention. Only a health care professional should give additional doses of epinephrine if you need more than two injections for a single anaphylactic episode. DO NOT INJECT INTO YOUR VEINS, BUTTOCKS, FINGERS, TOES, HANDS OR FEET. In case of accidental injection, please seek immediate medical treatment. Epinephrine should be used with caution if you have heart disease or are taking certain medicines that can cause heart-related (cardiac) symptoms.
Tell your doctor if you have certain medical conditions such as asthma, depression, thyroid disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, have any other medical conditions, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Be sure to also tell your doctor all the medicines you take, especially medicines for asthma. If you have certain medical conditions, or take certain medicines, your condition may get worse or you may have longer lasting side effects when you use EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr®.
The most common side effects may include increase in heart rate, stronger or irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, paleness, dizziness, weakness, shakiness, headache, apprehension, nervousness or anxiety. These side effects may go away if you rest. Tell your health care professional if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
For additional information, please contact us at 800-395-3376.
EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr® are registered trademarks owned by the Mylan companies. EpiPen4Schools®is a registered trademark of Mylan Inc.
© 2015 Mylan Specialty L.P. All rights reserved.
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