Teaching schools how to use EpiPens could mean the difference between life and death

Here's something to think about as you get ready for the new school year.

If your kid had an allergic food reaction at school, would your school know what to do?

Doctors are now offering a few lessons of their own.

Packing lunch for the first day of first grade can be nerve-racking for any mom, but Karen Lee has more reasons to worry than most.

"He is in the highest risk category for an anaphylactic reaction due to the fact that he has eczema, he has asthma and he has the allergy to peanuts," says Lee.

Adam's allergies are so bad, even smelling peanuts can trigger a dangerous reaction.

So Karen sent an EpiPen to school. It's a syringe filled with the medicine epinephrine to treat allergic reactions which can turn deadly quickly.

Dr. D.J. Scherzer, with Nationwide Children's Hospital says, "In this country there are about a hundred to 150 people every year who actually die from a food allergy reaction."

To lower those numbers, Dr. Scherzer developed a program that teaches schools how and when to use EpiPens.

Each year thousands of kids suffer severe reactions at school, and sometimes adults don't know what to do. 

Dr. Scherzer says, "Approximately half of those people actually had epinephrine in the vicinity, it was available to them, it just wasn't used or it wasn't used in time."

Dr. Scherzer says EpiPens may not be used in emergencies because they can be intimidating, especially if an adult has to inject a child.

But it can get a lot easier with just a little practice. He says, "Just a few minutes of getting a feel of it, talking about it a little bit, just looking at it, can help you get over that hesitancy."

And because nurses aren't always at schools at all times, others should be trained to use them too.

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