Life-saving shot could be available in schools - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Life-saving shot could be available in schools

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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KTIV) -

Earlier this month, President Obama signed a bill that encourages states to enforce a law requiring all schools to have EpiPens on-hand. It's the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act and it's aimed at saving the lives of students as well as school staff.

In Sioux City schools, steps are taken to ensure the safety of students when it comes to food allergies. Parents can fill out information about their child's allergy at the beginning of the year, and provide medication the child may need in case of an allergic reaction, like an EpiPen.

However, what about students who don't know they have a food allergy and they find out about it when it's too late?

This can be life threatening, which is why President Obama is asking each state to adopt a new law. A law that would require schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors to be used by any student or staff member in an emergency.

"Before that would go into affect, I think some planning would need to go into place between the healthcare field and the schools," said Dr. David Ensz, a family practitioner in Siouxland. "To implement the best type of implication approach before we cross that line."

Dr. Ensz says a person who has an EpiPen in their possession needs to be trained on how to use it properly and how to spot the warning signs of an allergic reaction. Like swelling of the tongue, a tingling in the tongue, feeling cold and trouble breathing.

When a student or staff member is experiencing an allergic reaction, Dr. Ensz says that's when an EpiPen comes in handy. It's an injection of adrenaline and the body feels it right away. Dr. Ensz says the risk of not administering epinephrine can be deadly.

So, is the federal push to have EpiPens in schools beneficial?

"I do think it could be beneficial," said Dr. Ensz. "It's probably fairly rare that a child will have a true anaphylactic reaction at school and require this, but in the properly trained hands, it can be an asset to the school."

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