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Training and administration of epinephrine auto-injectors for anaphylaxis treatment in US schools: results from the EpiPen4Schools® pilot survey

Authors Hogue S, Goss D, Hollis K, Silvia S, White MV

Received 17 February 2016

Accepted for publication 31 March 2016

Published 17 June 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 109—115


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Amrita Dosanjh

Susan L Hogue,1 Diana Goss,1 Kelly Hollis,1 Suyapa Silvia,2 Martha V White3

1Health Solutions, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, 2Education and Workforce Development, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, 3Institute for Asthma and Allergy, Wheaton, MD, USA

Background: Anaphylaxis is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. Adequate preparation for anaphylaxis management is imperative for school personnel. This descriptive pilot study assessed preparedness of US schools to manage anaphylactic reactions.
Methods: An exploratory, cross-sectional, web-based, pilot survey assessed the occurrence and characteristics of anaphylactic events, as well as training provided to school personnel for the recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis. Eligible US schools were participants in the EpiPen4Schools® program during the 2013–2014 school year. EpiPen4Schools provides EpiPen® (epinephrine injection) Auto-Injectors and training materials to qualifying US schools. Survey data were parsed by US Census Bureau region and state and were evaluated using descriptive statistics.
Schools from all 50 states and the District of Columbia participated in the survey (N=6,019). Among schools that provided information on anaphylactic events, 11% (607/5,683) reported the occurrence of one or more events, with significant variability in incidence across census regions and among states. A total of 5,613 schools provided information regarding which staff members were trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis. Thirty-six percent of schools (2,022/5,613) indicated that only the school nurse and select staff were trained in anaphylaxis recognition. The proportion of schools in which most or all school staff received such training differed by region/state (range, 13%–100%). A total of 5,578 schools provided information on which staff were permitted to administer epinephrine. The majority of schools (54%; 3,024/5,578) permitted only the school nurse and select staff to administer epinephrine, although percentages varied by region/state (range, 4%–100%).
Conclusion: Schools differed substantially in their preparedness to manage anaphylaxis, with significant disparities in staff training and permission to treat. Given the ramifications of delayed treatment, removing barriers to the recognition and treatment of anaphylactic events in schools is an important public health goal.

Keywords: anaphylaxis, epinephrine, epinephrine auto-injector, preparedness, school nurse, school staff training

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