WASHINGTON, D.C. — A significant portion of United States schools reported at least one severe allergic reaction among students and staff, 22% of which occurred in individuals with no known history of allergies, according to data presented at the 2015 AAP National Conference and Exhibition.
“We found that about 20% of individuals experiencing anaphylaxis in the school setting had no prior history of anaphylaxis and no prior known allergic trigger,” Martha V. White, MD, director of research at the Institute for Asthma and Allergy in Wheaton, Maryland, told Infectious Diseases in Children. “Thus, these individuals would have no reason to have provided the health room with an EpiPen or other epinephrine auto-injector for personal use in emergencies.”
Martha V. White
White and colleagues conducted the web-based EPIPEN4SCHOOLS survey of more than 32,000 schools and received responses regarding anaphylactic events from 5,683 institutions. The survey also included questions on treatment used to aid affected students and staff during the 2013-2014 school year. Eleven percent of schools reported some type of anaphylactic event (n = 919), of which 89% occurred in students.
Twenty-two percent of the incidents occurred in students and on-site individuals with no known history of allergies. Allergy status was unknown in an additional 9% of allergic events. Food was the trigger in 62% of cases, while insect bites were cited in 10% of cases. Triggers were unidentifiable in 20% of reported cases.
Epinephrine auto-injectors were used to treat 75% of individuals; 18% were treated with antihistamines. Of the 636 individuals treated with an auto-injector, 49% used a school-supplied EpiPen (Mylan Specialty); 45% used a personal EpiPen, White wrote.
“It is important that schools be equipped with stock epinephrine auto-injectors and that a wide range of school personnel be trained in the recognition of anaphylaxis so that affected individuals can be medically attended to,” White said. – by David Costill
White MV, et al. Abstract 31964. Presented at: AAP National Conference and Exhibition; Oct. 24-27, 2015; Washington, D.C.
Disclosure: The researchers report receiving funding from Mylan Specialty.