A new law is helping keep our students safer. It encourages each school to keep non-prescription EpiPens available in case of an emergency.
The law was signed by the president in November and went into action in January. It gives benefits to states that allow schools to carry these stock pens in the event of an emergency.
"The prescription for the EpiPens has already been obtained, school nurses are on board, our administrators are completely on board with this," said Susan Haslebacher, Supervisor for School Health for Monongalia County Schools. "As soon as we get this done we are ready to roll."
Monongalia County Schools is just a policy amendment away from having generic EpiPens in each school, and hopes to do so by the end of the school year.
That's welcomed news to Dr. Kathryn Moffett a professor of pediatrics at West Virginia University.
"My son had food allergies," she said. "He was getting hives. We weren't sure why and we went out for frozen yogurt 8-months-old and he got yogurt all over his face and when we wiped his face off we said oh my god, his face was just covered in hives."
An Epinephrine autoinjector is used in an emergency when someone is having a sever reaction.
"Someone is having an anaphylactic or severe allergic reaction to a bee sting, a food allergy like peanuts," said Moffett. "Their throat my be closing off, their lips may swell. You give them a shot of Epinephrine or adrenaline and it can halt or slow a reaction."
Students with prescriptions are already allowed to carry EpiPens or keep one with the nurse.
The new law benefits those who are unaware of an allergy who may have a severe reaction.
"It's rare that it happens in schools, and the reason is because the schools go above and beyond and are diligent about seeking information from parents with students with allergies so that we have the medications in the event that a student needs them," said Haslebacher.
"Maybe a school will never use it, but if you only need it once, and you save someone's life, than it's worth having," Dr. Moffett added.