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School and Allergies, Asthma

Illinois and California Advance Stock Epinephrine Bills

California and Illinois have made recent progress in getting epinephrine auto-injectors stocked at schools for use in case of anaphylaxis.

In Illinois, HB 5892 passed both the House and the state Senate on May 28. Now, it only awaits Governor Pat Quinn’s signature to become law. Illinois had already implemented a “stock epi” act back in 2011 – but the current bill expands the scope of who may administer epinephrine auto-injector to a student experiencing anaphylaxis.

Under the Illinois Emergency Epinephrine Act, the state’s schools were allowed to keep stock auto-injectors, which could be administered by a school nurse in emergency. Provisions in the new bill will also allow trained employees or volunteers to  to inject the life-saving medicine, even in the case of a previously unknown allergy. This will make immediate access to epinephrine more likely, especially in schools where nurses aren’t on duty full-time. Studies have also shown that, in the United States, up to 25 percent of cases of anaphylaxis at school involve children who had not previously been known to have an allergy.

Over in California, another state seeking to expand existing stock epinephrine legislation, more progress has been made despite some opposition from teachers’ unions, which have been arguing that administering epinephrine would be a nurse’s role, not a teacher’s. The bill, called SB 1266 passed the California Senate on May 28. It would “require” rather than simply “allow” schools to stock auto-injectors. The bill now goes to the state assembly for consideration.

In addition to expanding protection for students at risk of anaphylaxis, “requiring” the stock devices is also necessary to qualify for the financial incentives in the federal School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act.

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