PANAMA CITY BEACH-- A local mother, who's also a nurse, wants to make emergency epinephrine pens more accessible to local students. Kirsten Sears has formed a group of Patronis Elementary School parents to raise awareness about the dangers of food allergies.
Six year old Kendall Sears has an epinephrine pen in her Patronis Elementary School classroom, in case she suffers and allergic reaction. Kendall's mom, Kirsten Sears said, "It's an amazing medication, but it only works if you have it with you."
However, not all children have that access. Thousands of local kids, with undiagnosed allergies, will not be able to get immediate treatment for an allergic reaction at school.
Florida law prohibits faculty from administering injections to students without a prescription. Sears, is pushing a proposal that would allow schools to stock a supply of EpiPens and use them on students who need them, prescription or not.
Sears said, "Each school district must pass that law to put it into practice." Sears started a Food Allergy Awareness Committee at Patronis.
The group of parents are handing out flyers to every teacher, with a picture of a Patronis student and their particular allergy. Sears said, "I want to make sure that every teachers recognizes her [Kendall] and if they see her exhibiting any symptoms they are like, 'Oh she needs attention right now.' Every student needs that."
Sears is hoping parents at other schools will follow her lead and form their own groups, helping to better identify children with medical needs. She said, "There are school districts who are implementing this policy in their school and lives have been saved."
Allergies are a serious risk to school-aged children. Experts say one in every 13 kids in the US has a food allergy
To get involved, contact Kirsten at 850-276-2244