Proposal seeks to place EpiPens in every Tennessee school - WSMV Channel 4

Proposal seeks to place EpiPens in every Tennessee school

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Parents and educators have pushed a measure that would put epinephrine auto-injectors in every Tennessee school to help kids who suffer from severe allergic reactions.

One in 13 kids has at least one allergy - whether it's food or bee stings - so the proposed legislation would make it easier for a child to get help if a severe allergic reaction occurs at school.

Candice Heinz's 8-year-old son, Elijah, has been living with severe food allergies since he was born. He can't have milk, eggs, peanuts or tree nuts, so Heinz said she always keeps a so-called EpiPen nearby.

"His teacher keeps his EpiPen on her at all times," Heinz said.

The auto-injectors deliver a dose of epinephrine or adrenaline during a severe allergic reaction.

Like Elijah, most kids who know they have severe food allergies, keep an injector nearby, but doctors worry about those who don't.

"It is the early treatment and the quick treatment that is so important in saving a young child's life," said allergist Dr. Bob Overholt.

That is why Tennessee lawmakers have passed the bill to put two EpiPens in every public and private school in the state.

They could be administered to a child by a teacher, nurse or school official, and the bill makes sure the person giving the dose of medication is protected, unless there was "an intentional disregard for safety."

The bill has been sent to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature. A spokesperson for the governor said Thursday he still has to review the measure.

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