Proposed bill requires NY teachers learn how to use EpiPens

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York kids need fast relief from anaphylactic shock from severe allergies, and a proposed bill will get them help during emergencies.

They’re small devices that can make a big impact when someone is having an allergic reaction.

“We see patients and adults every day in our clinics who have life threatening food allergies, life threatening allergies to insects and to medications, and having this medication at the front line is very important,” Dr. Jessica Stern with the University of Rochester said.

Epinephrine auto-injectors, or EpiPens, can treat allergic reactions within seconds. A new bill would require teachers to take a training course on how to use the devices.

“You gotta know what you’re looking for when you’re going through the backpack of the kid,” Assemblymember Tom Abinanti said. “And, when you get one of these devices, you’ve gotta know how to take it apart and inject.”

Parents of children with allergies say time can be of the essence.

“It’s most important, because in New York State, not every school has a full-time nurse and, sometimes when a school does have a full-time nurse, sometimes the child could be at least a mile away from the nurse’s office,” parent Stacey Saiontz said.

And some lawmakers say this type of training brings up another health issue in schools.

“I was thinking when I was looking at the bill that what about naloxone training for at least middle school or high school teachers, too,” Assemblymember Mary Beth Walsh said. “I think that might be a good idea because, unfortunately, whether you’re in an urban or suburban or rural school district, that’s a big issue now, too.”

The bill has been referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

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