We would like to review with you some important information about anaphylaxis. New legislation in Connecticut allows the nurse (APRN, RN, LPN) or appropriately trained staff to administer treatment (epinephrine) to any student that is observed to be having an allergic reaction while at school.

Previous legislation allowed this treatment only for those students who were previously diagnosed with an allergy.

Anaphylaxis is a serious and life-threatening allergic reaction. Common causes are food, medication and insect bites or stings. Typical symptoms include an itchy rash, throat swelling and low blood pressure. Abdominal, cardiac and respiratory symptoms can also occur. Anaphylaxis usually has a rapid onset and immediate treatment is necessary to avoid death. An allergic reaction can occur to any student at any time.

The medication epinephrine is the treatment of choice for anaphylaxis and has no contraindications. Minor side effects may include tremors, headache, palpitations or temporary anxiety. It is a safe, life- saving treatment. Epinephrine is supplied in an auto-injector and is given in the outer thigh through the clothes. Students who receive epinephrine are transported to the hospital via an ambulance so that they can be monitored and evaluated for adjunct treatment due to the possibility of biphasic anaphylaxis (a 2nd reaction).

Again, an allergic reaction can occur to any child, at any time. The new legislation allows parents to “opt-out” of this life-saving treatment. If you do not wish for an epinephrine auto-injector to be administered to your child should he/she be experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis, you must submit a letter requesting this to the school.  Emergency medical services will still be called for your child in this case.

David Cusick, RN, EMT-P, BS
Managing Director, CREC Health Services
CREC (Capitol Region Education Council)
[email protected] 

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