Bill Would Allow Schools To Get EpiPens By Prescription
Designed to help kids who don't know they have allergies
Schools could have an easier time helping kids with food or other allergies under a bill passed by the State Senate.
Right now, if a child is allergic to foods, bee stings or something else that causes a quick, life threatening reaction, they are allowed to bring an EpiPen or other device which school nurses can keep on hand. But what about children who don't know they have an allergy until they have a first reaction at school? "They are exposed to foods they might not normally eat, and so they find out then that they have an allergy," said Senator Vaneta Becker (R, Evansville), who sponsored the bill that allows schools and school districts to receive EpiPen prescriptions directly.
Becker says the idea for the bill came from a constituent whose child has a food allergy and who worried whether kids who have an initial allergic reaction at school would have access to treatment that could save their lives. According to the Centers For Disease Control, food allergies affect nearly one in 13 children, while just over three-percent are allergic to bee stings. "Playing out on the playground, a child could get stung by a bee and could die within minutes unless EpiPens are available," said Becker.
The bill would not require schools to obtain EpiPens, but Becker says she has heard from several schools in favor of the idea. "We have manufacturers of EpiPens who will actually donate them to schools if this bill passes," said Becker.
The bill passed the Senate on a 49-to-nothing vote and goes to the House.