2013-01-30 / Opinions


More support for stocking county schools with EpiPens

In response to Mr. Condon III from Midlothian regarding EpiPens in public schools: First off, let me say that most of the time people who suffer a severe allergic reaction requiring an Epi are not aware of the allergy until they suffer the reaction.

I have two children who are allergic to peanuts and shellfish, and I keep EpiPens at their school. I have told the school nurse that if they ever need to use my child’s Epi to save another child’s life, they certainly have my permission to use the one(s) I’ve provided. It only costs a mere $20 to replace the EpiPen, but saving a child’s life is worth a million dollars.

Second, I think the point [he’s] actually trying to make is that parents need to provide prescribed medicines to the school nurse, as is the county’s policy, and I agree. The conditions you mentioned in your letter – diabetes, asthma and infections – are all known or diagnosed.

But, as I mentioned before, allergies are not always known. You can eat peanuts, eggs, shrimp, hundreds of times without suffering a reaction, but suddenly become allergic, and in that moment you will need an EpiPen immediately, and 911, to save your life.

It sounds as though [Mr. Condon] is very blessed to never have had a child or loved one who suffers severe allergies. I, for one, am grateful the General Assembly and Chesterfield County Public Schools have decided to include EpiPens as a measure of saving a child’s life in our school system.

Connie Harris

I wanted to respond to Mr. Joseph A. Condon’s letter to the editor in the Jan. 9 issue. Mr. Condon made a great point – that it is the family’s responsibility to make sure that they supply the appropriate medications for their child. I can see how it would then seem unreasonable to ask taxpayers to pay for EpiPens in school for those children.

But, Mr. Condon, those Epi-Pens are for your children as well. With no prior history of allergies, children can suddenly experience anaphylaxis when exposed to a food that they might have only had once or twice, or when they are stung by a bee. You can Google sudden-onset anaphylaxis for more information on the subject.

EpiPens in the schools ensure that, in the [event] of an emergency such as what I have just described, medication will be available to your child without a prescription to save his/ her life.

This is what differentiates the EpiPen from other medications that you mentioned in your letter. I hope that helps to clarify the issue.

Ali Foley Shenk
Bon Air

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