The Illinois attorney general is urging school districts to get epi-pens. Epinephrine auto-injectors, known as epi-pens, are devices that dispense a single dose of allergy antidote, and they’re used to treat the kind of severe allergic reactions that could be fatal if not treated. A new Illinois law allows schools to stock these devices, and for doctors to prescribe them to school districts in general. Attorney General Lisa Madigan says they’re needed for students whose allergies are not known, and for whom treatment needs are therefore not known.
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“Twenty-five percent of children will experience their first allergic reaction while they’re in school, so if we don’t have the medicine to treat them immediately, we could end up unfortunately with deadly results,” she said at a news conference on the subject Monday at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. According to the hospital, 3 to 8 percent of children have food allergies that could be set off with exposure in school. The attorney general’s office has published a how-to guide so school districts can navigate the paper work necessary to get epi-pens prescribed for them and get them in the building. They cost about $56 each, and are not used frequently, so Madigan says cost has typically not been an impediment.