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home : local news : local news December 17, 2014

8/1/2014 11:12:00 AM
State changes law on school use of 'epi-pens'
Daily News

More school personnel will be able to administer emergency allergy shots with the signing of a new state law.

The law allows specially-trained school personnel to administer epinephrine shots. Epinephrine shots are commonly administered in a response to bee stings, but they are also used in response to other allergic reactions.

"More and more children are being diagnosed with food allergies, with peanuts, eggs, milk, soy and wheat as the most common culprits," senate sponsor Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said in a press release. "Ensuring timely access to this life-saving medication can mean the difference between life and death for a child."

The law is effective Aug. 1. Local Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) voted in favor of the law, as did Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Charleston).

Under the previous law, only school nurses could use the injectors. This legislation changes requirements so that school personnel who go through a legally-mandated training program can administer the medication.

The law also allows students to carry and use their own epinephrine injectors and asthma medication, with parental consent.

"Increasing access to life-saving allergy medication in schools is a simple yet critical safety measure to better protect our children's health and safety, particularly at a time when dangerous food allergies are on the rise," Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a press release. "This law will allow trained school personnel to act quickly in the case of an unforeseen medical emergency."

The law also allows schools to begin carrying "undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors," which are units that are not assigned to a specific student. These injectors are to be stored in a "secure place" near where students are likely to have a reaction, such as classrooms and eating areas.

"We want our schools in Illinois to be high-quality places of learning and that includes making sure our students are safe," Quinn said in a press release. "In cases of severe allergic reactions, there is precious time to act and potentially save a life. This new law will provide more life-saving tools to protect all who attend, work in or visit Illinois' schools."

"Protecting our children both at school and their associated activities is a top priority," bill sponsor Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) said. "This legislation provides our teachers, school nurses, volunteers and students with the tools and resources they need to provide for the safety of every child and adult in our school buildings."

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