Controlling Food Allergies in Area Schools
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Officials are announcing a rise in food allergies among children, saying some reactions could even be life-threatening.
However, a bill introduced in the Colorado House would supply schools across the state with a device that helps save lives.
A way to prevent a serious case from occurring is with quick response and the use of an epinephrine auto-injector, something School District 51 officials say they're well aware of.
“The health office at the school is set to do basic first aid and to give routine medication if we have doctors’ authorization,” said Elaine Buda, one of 15 registered nurses with School District 51.
Her cases range from stomach aches to sore throats. But if a more serious matter were to arise, Buda says she knows exactly what to do.
“Epinephrine stops the allergic reaction from going as fast,” said Buda. “So it buys us more time to call 911 and to get them to the hospital, where they could do more advanced things to help stop the allergic reaction.”
The pens come in handy for the nearly 6 million children diagnosed with a food allergy, or who are sensitive to other things like bee stings.
“Every single student that we are aware of that has an EpiPen, has a plan behind that EpiPen. So they are safe at school,” said Tanya Marvin, coordinator of the nursing department.
Under Colorado law, parents must come to the nurses and tell them about these medical issues. School District 51 then makes up a medical plan for each student.
“We do see a lot of parents that will list one item of food that they will need to avoid,” said Buda. “A lot of our children with the more uncommon foods are just really good at avoiding them.”
But if a student fails to stay clear of something that could end in a reason to worry, district officials say they're prepared.
“Giving the medication rapidly is an important piece of the whole process of making sure people are safe,” said Buda.
Currently, parents have to provide these injectors. But if the bill were to pass, each school would have at least one extra pen available to not just students, but faculty as well.