Teachers Training To Use EpiPens Under New Law

Kristine Kuhnert's son has a peanut allergy so she always carries an EpiPen.

"It's scary you never know if he's going to be out and something's going to be served to him," Kuhnert said.

In case of an emergency she's happy that all public schools will now have a backup.

"If something were to happen the unknown there's something that could treat him right away," Kuhnert added.

Under a new state law all public schools are required to have two EpiPens and two staff members trained to use them.

The EpiPens are not meant as an alternative for students who already have a prescription, they should continue bringing their own to school. But under the new law they're still protected if they forget their device.

"Our staff know that first thing we do is call 9-1-1, we use the EpiPen and then we call the parents," said Horizon Elementary Principal David Hornak.

At Horizon Elementary in Holt all staff are getting trained, which involves watching an instructional video and practicing with training devices.

'We do need to be informed, we need to know what the symptoms are if a child is having an allergic reaction," Hornack explained.

It's not just helping kids with known allergies. In almost 25 percent of anaphylaxis cases--severe allergic reactions that can be fatal---children had never been diagnosed with an allergy. So having EpiPens on hand is an important line of defense.

"It's an allergy where you can't breathe or your throats tightening up where literally every second counts," said Dr. Edward Rosick, Chairman of the Family & Community Medicine Department at Michigan State. "So being able to have access to an EpiPen can literally mean the difference between life and death."

Now two devices and a training session are giving parents some peace of mind.

"Of course there's a lot of foods kids don't realize there's peanuts in so it's good to have that backup," Kuhnert said.


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