Epi Pens for All
Recently I read an article in the New York Times making an argument for having non-designated Epi Pens available to all schools. This means the Epi Pens will not have someone’s name on them which happens when you get a prescription for an Epi Pen. If you have a child with a food allergy or any other allergy, you would take an Epi Pen to their school and leave it with the school nurse should your child ever need it. The only problem with dropping an Epi Pen off to the school is they do expire so you need to make sure you are on top of it. The other problem is what if you don’t know your child is anaphylactic to something?
When my son Michael was 8 he was playing outside before dinner. He came running in crying because he had been stung by wasps about 4 times on his leg. I put some baking soda paste on it and told him to sit down for dinner. He didn’t want to eat he said he wasn’t feeling good. I told him to go lay down and I would save him dinner for later. About 15 minutes later his friend came over asking if he wanted to play, I told her to go see if Michael was up to playing. She went in his room and I heard a blood curdling scream. I rushed in and there was my son laying there un-recognisable. His face was swollen so bad I couldn’t see his eyes and his hands were like footballs after that I have no memory of what happened, I went into ninja mommy mode. Next thing I knew I was carrying a limp little boy into the emergency department. The nurse grabbed him and was gone. I was left in the middle of emergency with his 6 year old brother crying asking if his brother was going to die. I couldn’t move, all I was thinking is how did I miss this, why had I not been more concerned?
Not sure what the time lapse was but someone came to talk to me, I was sure the words they were going to say was my son was dead. Thank God it was “we just about lost him but we think he will be ok”. They asked me why he didn’t have an Epi Pen. I said because I had no idea he was allergic. He was stung by a bee when he was a year old but there was no reaction other than some tears and a bump on his chin. The doctor told me you have to be stung at least once to develop an allergy and I would never had known had he not been stung now.
After I finally got him home a couple of days later I started to think, what if this had of happened at school or when he was camping with his dad. What if the hospital was not so close to us? What if his friend had not come over?
With food allergies you also may not know if your child will have an anaphylactic response to a food. Kids share food at school, there are treats brought in that you may or may not know what exactly is in them. If you know the response your kid has then parents make sure the Epi Pens are at school, they make sure their kid knows what they can or can’t eat, the school is aware and there is a plan in place. If you have no idea how can you plan for it? Having non-designated Epi Pens in schools, eating establishments or public facilities will help save lives. We now have defibrillators in every public facility because studies have proven they save lives, why not Epi Pens?
I would never wish for another parent to experience the gut wrenching fear I faced that day or hear their child gasping to breathe because their throat has swollen shut.