Tuesday, January 31, 2012

EpiPens in Madison Schools Press Release

Dean Clinic Makes Donation to Local Schools to Help Children with Life-Threatening Allergies

Dean Clinic Provides an EpiPen to Each Health Office in the Madison Metropolitan School District

Madison, Wis. – Dean Clinic and pharmaceutical company Dey Pharma, have teamed up to make Madison schools safer for children with allergies. For the 2011-2012 school year, more than 40 EpiPens were donated, which is enough to ensure at least one EpiPen is available in each school’s health office.

"The Madison School District is grateful for the support of community partners like Dean Clinic,” says Freddi Adelson, Health Services Coordinator for MMSD. “This generous donation allows our staff to respond quickly and appropriately to unexpected serious allergic reactions."

Roughly 1,500 people in the U.S. die each year due to anaphylaxis, a sudden and serious allergic reaction that often prohibits people from breathing. Many of those deaths could be prevented if immediate treatment is administered via an EpiPen.

“The first line of treatment is to administer epinephrine as early as possible,” says Dean Clinic Allergist Don Bukstein, MD. “The EpiPens contain the epinephrine needed to stop the allergic reaction and they can stop it in a matter of minutes.”

There are three major risk factors for fatal anaphylaxis:
-Allergic reaction to food, stinging insects or medications
-Presence or history of asthma symptoms
-Delay in administration of epinephrine

Wisconsin law now allows children with known allergies to have an EpiPen with them in schools, but Dr. Bukstein says it is still important that our schools have one on hand for back up.

“It is possible that a child may not know he or she has a particular allergy,” says Dr. Bukstein. “If his or her first exposure to the allergen is at school, they may not have an EpiPen or an action plan set up with the school. This is when having the device in the schools is critically important.”

Every child with known allergy risks should have an anaphylaxis action plan on file with all schools and caregivers. The plan should list symptoms, state that immediate action can be life-saving and outline what to do in order of importance.

“We hope the EpiPens don’t need to be used, but as a physician, it feels good to know that these schools now have an extra life-saving device on hand in the event of an emergency,” says Dr. Bukstein.