Bay District Schools Considering New EpiPen Law

By  | 

BAY COUNTY - A new federal law could help save more lives when a child has a severe allergic reaction. It's called the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act or EpiPen law. Bay County school officials aren't sure if they'll adopt the policy.

Katie Adair and her 7 year old daughter Chloe know how important it is to keep an epinephrine auto-injector or EpiPen nearby. Chloe is extremely allergic to nuts.

"Something like that within 13 seconds, she could stop breathing and this could literally save her life," said Katie Adair, a parent.

EpiPens prevent anaphylactic shock. All you have to do is take off the blue cap and inject yourself.

Right now children are required to have a prescription for EpiPens, but a new federal law removes that requirement and encourages schools to stock up on the medication.

The Bay County Health Department has trained at least two staff members at every school to administer the treatments and they could need more if the school district adopts the policy.

"I'd venture to say we need more than we have trained right now and according to protocol, it may be that the entire staff is trained," said Kathy Soto, School Health Coordinator for the Bay County Health Department.

Funding the new policy is also a consideration for the school district.

"Funding, of course, is always a concern any time we're looking at implementing any programs, but of course, in this instance, we also have a high priority for the health and safety of our students," said Lee Stafford, Director of Student Services.

Adair believes the law could also help parents who may be unaware their child even has a severe nut allergy.

"That would have been critical. She had already been here a year. She didn't come to school with a known allergy. All her medical forms for school say no known allergy," said Adair.

Although the Florida Department of Health is encouraging all school health coordinators to adopt the policy, only Alachua County has agreed.