Laws Impact School Support for Anaphylaxis Management

Gaps exist in awareness of anaphylaxis procedure and EpiPen administration technique

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- School boards in jurisdictions that legislate anaphylaxis policy make greater efforts to support students at risk for anaphylaxis compared with schools in nonlegislated environments, although significant gaps exist in both environments with respect to awareness of school anaphylaxis procedures and EpiPen administration technique, according to a study published in the January issue of Allergy.

Lisa Cicutto, Ph.D., R.N., from National Jewish Health in Denver, and colleagues evaluated the anaphylaxis policies of 76 public school boards in legislated (Ontario) and nonlegislated (Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec) Canadian provinces. They also surveyed 1,365 parents of children at risk for anaphylaxis as well as school personnel, and scored school personnel's EpiPen administration technique.

The researchers found that school board policies in legislated jurisdictions were more consistent with Canadian anaphylaxis guidelines compared with school board policies in nonlegislated environments. Parents in legislated environments reported that their schools were more likely to have written policies for prevention and management of anaphylaxis than parents of at-risk children in nonlegislated jurisdictions (62 versus 44 percent). Despite more than 80 percent of school personnel in both environments receiving EpiPen training, suboptimal technique was commonly observed. However, school personnel in the legislated environment were found to have better technique.

"While legislated environments have made efforts to create a supportive school environment for students with life-threatening allergies, they fall short on the actual implementation of their policies. School personnel do not have many of the necessary supports to respond effectively in the case of an allergic reaction," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the company that markets the EpiPen in Canada.

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