In a recent article appearing nationally, Allergy and Asthma Care Centers’ own Dr. Alle was interviewed on the issue of food allergies as a national problem, specifically the seemingly growing number of tragic stories recently (and how the potential for them to have been prevented may have existed). This story has led to a number of follow-up questions being asked on what steps need to be taken moving forward.
As the article discusses, these incidents have been the catalyst for a national call-to-action. In a very well-supported article from Margaret Carlson in Bloomberg News, as well as a companion piece written in Forbes Magazine, the argument is made for a program from the federal government to offer incentives to school districts to stock EpiPens at school. The legislation is comparable to a bill, signed into law in 2000, that allows for defibrillators to be used in an emergency without risk of liability (which is why they are now able to be kept in schools). Additionally, legislation on this issues is pending at the state level throughout the country (including both Virginia and Maryland, where all the offices of the Allergy and Asthma Care Centers are currently located).
Dr. Alle and her colleagues that make up the Allergy & Asthma Care Centers network, strongly endorse the stocking of epinephrine in schools, but being on the forefront of this issue, we understand that the argument is not just about having EpiPens on hand. It is also based on developing the policy and protocol for using them.
- Who at a school can be authorized to make the decision?
- Who can do the procedure?
- Where can the drug be stored safely?
- What paperwork needs to be provided to the parents and the school district?
All of these questions speak to why the education component is so critical. Students, parents and school officials all have to be on the same page and everything should be done in collaboration with experts in this particular area of medicine.
Additionally, it is IMPERATIVE that children be aware of their limitations. We understand that at different ages, children have stages of “curiosity”, “indifference” and even “peer pressure”, but when it comes to life-and-death circumstances, those inclinations need to be squashed for safety sake. Ideally, this needs to start at home, but when the children are at school, the lessons need to continue.
Allergy & Asthma Care Centers has been providing high-quality, comprehensive allergy and asthma care to the Washington DC area for 15 years. Our practice features state-of-the-art care for allergy and asthma sufferers, and offers a variety of highly specialized procedures that utilize the latest medical technology.