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Where Should Epinephrine Be Kept at School?

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Updated August 21, 2009

Question: Where Should Epinephrine Be Kept at School?
Answer: The key to successful treatment of severe food allergy reactions is the early administration of epinephrine. Therefore, injectable epinephrine should be readily available to treat students with food allergy. Preferably, epinephrine should be accessible within minutes, and should be kept in a secure but unlocked location. Keeping epinephrine in a locked drawer or cabinet is not a good idea, since quickly finding a key for the lock may be difficult when a reaction is occurring.

Where to keep epinephrine is ultimately up to the child’s parents and the school, and I think that it really doesn’t matter if the epinephrine is kept in a school office, the classroom, with the student, or even better -- in multiple locations. However, epinephrine should be available within minutes, especially for a student with a history of severe food allergies. Most young children should not carry their own epinephrine, as injectable epinephrine pens are potentially dangerous – I often leave this decision to the parents and the school, but I wouldn’t recommend that a child carry their own epinephrine at least until they’re in high school.

In addition to where epinephrine is kept at school, determining which school staff are responsible for administering the drug is just as important. Leaving this responsibility only to the school nurse, who may not be present at the school at all times, is not a good idea. Other school staff members should be trained in the administration of epinephrine in case the nurse is not present. Make sure your school and your child are prepared to treat a severe food allergy reaction before it happens.

Learn more about treating allergies and asthma in children at school.

Source:

Young MC, Munoz-Furlong A, Sicherer SH. Management of Food Allergies in Schools: A Perspective for Allergists. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009; 124:175-82.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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