EpiPens will now be available in all Sarasota County Schools

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SARASOTA- Allergic reactions can come quickly and without warning, and starting in August Sarasota County Schools will offer potentially lifesaving treatment available for kids and employees having a reaction.

Allergic reactions are random, and your first anaphylactic shock can come anywhere. Even in the classroom.

“So that random moment of their first reaction can occur after lunch at school,” Dr. Windom said. ‘It can come on the playground with a bee sting and when it happens you need treatment.”

The best treatment, a shot of epinephrine, or an EpiPen injection… something schools were only able to give to kids with a prescription.

“Options previously were call 911,” Suzanne Dubois said. “And stay with the child and hope for the best.”

Dr. Windom says waiting a few minutes for 911 could put a child’s life at risk.

“If these people have shut down cardiovascular blood flow,” Dr. Windom said. “Every seconds important.”

A 2013 state law allows individual districts to change that policy. Dr. Windom worked with a high school senior to help get epi-pens into private and public schools throughout Sarasota.

“With the school board that was the most important thing because that would allow us to get EpiPens into dozens of schools throughout the county.”

Last August, the school board agreed.

“It’s taken a couple of months to get the protocol set,” Polk said. “But thankfully now in the fall, there will be EpiPens in all the schools in Sarasota County.”

Staff will be trained to use the EpiPen properly, and present minimal health risks for students.

“It’s very very safe,” Dr. Windom said. “So if they give it by mistake no harm done, and if they don’t give it when there’s an allergic reaction there can be great consequence.”

The EpiPens come at no cost to the district, they’re donated through a program from the manufacturer Mylan.

“If by chance we do use a pen there is an emergency situation then we have the option of reordering,” Dubois said. “So it’s a great program.”

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Samantha Sonner
Multimedia Journalist Samantha Sonner comes to the Suncoast from Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she worked as a reporter and host for KRWG TV/FM reporting on local politics, immigration, and border issues. Samantha grew up on Long Island, New York. She received her Bachelor of Science in Broadcast and Digital Journalism from Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she worked at WAER, the campus NPR station and interned at television stations in Central New York. Samantha is excited for the Florida Sunshine, and to be living so close to fantastic beaches. Feel free to follow her on Facebook and Twitter for story updates and news, or to send her story tips and ideas. You can also email her at samantha.sonner@snntv.com.