Video: New Survey Shows Three in Four School Nurses Have Students at Risk for Severe Allergic Reactions Who Do Not Bring Auto-Injectable Epinephrine to School

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 General News
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SILVER SPRING, Md., Aug. 27 A new survey conducted by theNational Association of School Nurses (NASN) found that 72% of school nurseshave students with a known history of allergies or prior use of epinephrinewhose parents have not provided the school with auto-injectable epinephrine.Also known as adrenaline, epinephrine is the first-line standard of care fortreating anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can becaused by nuts, insect bites or stings and other allergens.(1,2,3) Eight outof ten school nurses (82%) surveyed have also seen increased numbers ofchildren at risk for anaphylaxis in the past few years.

"We cannot overlook the importance of preparation when sending studentsback to school," said Amy Garcia, RN, MSN, executive director of NASN. "It iscrucial that parents of children at risk for severe allergic reactions providethe school with auto-injectable epinephrine."

As many as 45 million Americans have allergic sensitivities that put themat risk for anaphylaxis.(4) It takes only one to two minutes for a mildallergic reaction to escalate to anaphylaxis.(5) The faster the onset of ananaphylactic reaction, the greater the likelihood that it will be severe.(6)Most anaphylactic deaths have occurred when auto-injectable epinephrine wasnot used or not used in time.(7,8,9)

Larry S. Posner, MD, FAAAAI, assistant clinical professor at UC SanFrancisco said, "Being prepared in case of an emergency is critical inpreventing the most serious effects, since accidental exposure to known foodallergens are the rule rather than the exception and anaphylaxis may progressvery quickly. We know that in fatal anaphylaxis, respiratory or cardiac arrestwill usually occur within 10-20 minutes for bee stings and within 20-45minutes for food reactions.(10) That gives very little time for an appropriateresponse."

Due to the quick onset of anaphylaxis, being prepared is vital to keepingchildren safe. "Creating a plan to prevent exposures and respond to severeallergic reactions in our schools requires informing classmates, teachers andother school staff about the student's allergy and teaching them to recognizethe symptoms so they can assist if an emergency arises. It also means havingauto-injectable epinephrine handy that is easy to use and can be quicklyadministered in a crisis situation," Ms. Garcia said.

About the NASN Survey

NASN's "Management of Asthma and Anaphylaxis in Schools Survey" was ananonymous online survey conducted between May 17 and July 11, 2008 among nurses. 489 nurses completed the 80-question survey, which includedmultiple choice questions and free-form responses.

The survey was adapted from a survey conducted with the California SchoolNurse Organization (CSNO) and West Coast Allergy and Asthma Network(WestCAAN). Dr. Larry Posner and Nancy Spradling, executive director of theCSNO developed the CSNO/WestCAAN survey.

About NASN

The National Association of School Nurses is a non-profit specialtynursing organization, incorporated in 1977, which represents school nursesexclusively. NASN has over 13,000 members and 51 affiliates, including theDistrict of Columbia and overseas. The mission of the NASN is "to advance thedelivery of professional school health services to promote optimal health andlearning in students." To learn more about NASN, please visit us on the web or call 866-627-6767. For state specific information, pleaseselect "Affiliate Organizations" under "QUICKLINKS" on the NASN homepage.To view the Multimedia News Release, go to:

SOURCE National Association of School Nurses (NASN)

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