Students who suffer from life-threatening allergic reactions while at school will now have more people trained and ready to help.
The Montgomery County Board of Education adopted a policy Monday that outlines emergency care for students experiencing anaphylaxis, a condition where an injection of epinephrine is needed immediately to treat life-threatening allergic reactions to food, insect bites or other environmental elements.
The Maryland legislature passed a bill this year that requires all local school systems to create a policy outlining the emergency care.
The school board received 18 comments from parents and community members regarding the policy. Most of the people who commented thanked the school system for adopting the policy, but some had questions about implementation.
Three staff members from each school will be trained to recognize symptoms of a reaction, regardless of whether the student has been identified as being susceptible or has a prescription. The policy also requires the superintendent to establish procedures regarding training, administration and follow-up.
Parents asked about possible side effects of giving the medicine and if all personnel could administer the medicine. The school system responded in comments that the policy is in cooperation with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services and specific staff must be trained to administer the medicine.
About 4,000 students were known to be susceptible to anaphylaxis as of last year. But many times, a student does not know he or she is susceptible to the condition before a reaction happens — last school year, 27 of 97 students who experienced anaphylaxis were not known to be susceptible.