November 24, 2014
1 min read

School nurse program increased epinephrine availability to students

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A training program for school nurses in Houston decreased students’ reactions to food allergies and increased student-specific injectable devices, according to recent study results.

“It is extremely important for parents to communicate with their children’s schools any known food allergies,” Carla M. Davis, MD, pediatric immunology, allergy and rheumatology specialist at Texas Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, said in a press release. “It is equally important for schools to be prepared with proper training and inventory of injectable epinephrine devices [IEDs] in the event of an accidental exposure. With the proper communication, training and supplies, we can significantly decrease the number of allergic reactions at schools.”

Carla Davis, MD

Carla M. Davis

Davis and colleagues evaluated the number of children with food allergy, allergic reactions and IEDs before and 2 years after a 2011 single didactic session focusing on Houston Independent School District nurses. Two control school districts were used to determine the number of children with food allergy and IEDs.

Sixty-two nurses representing approximately 61,000 students per year responded to surveys, and 39 of those nurses responded for 2010-2013.

Eighty-four percent of all schools in the study were considered low socioeconomic (at least 70% of students participate in the Nationals School Lunch Program).

“Although there were significantly more [IEDs] per school in non-low than in low socioeconomic schools both pre- and posteducation, both experienced a statistically significant increase in [IEDs] posteducation,” the researchers wrote.

The amount of increase of IED was not significantly different based on socioeconomic status.

“Notably, from 2010 to 2012, allergic reactions decreased with 15% of children with food allergy reacting in 2010 and 0% in 2012 (P=.014), and the number of student-specific [IEDs] increased (P<.001),” the researchers wrote. “This effect was sustained in 2014 without continued education.”

Disclosure: See the study for a full list of relevant financial disclosures.