A 7-year-old girl appears to have died from an allergic reaction to peanuts at her Virginia elementary school last week, according to news reports.
Ammaria Johnson’s mother knew the child had a peanut allergy and had an allergy action plan at the school.
” ‘She has an allergy action plan at the school,’ Pendleton told WTVR TV, saying she authorized the school to give the student Benadryl during a reaction. ‘They didn’t do that.’ “
“Pendleton went on to tell the station that at the beginning of the year, she had tried to give the school clinical aid and EpiPen for reactions, but was told to keep it at home. EpiPens inject epinephrine, or adrenaline, currently available only by prescription.”
The child was in cardiac arrest by the time the ambulance arrived. She was pronounced dead a short time later at a medical center.
“Since severe allergies can develop without previous incidences, Dr. Dan Atkins, head of ambulatory pediatric at National Jewish Health in Denver, told ABC News that stocking EpiPens in schools might be a good idea.”
“There are kids who don’t know they’re food allergic until they get into the food,” Atkins told ABC. “In that situation, it would be good to have an EpiPen available.”
Coincidentally I was talking to a friend last week about her children who have multiple serious allergies. She said that when the school nurse described the procedure to get to the EpiPen (locked in a box in the clinic office, have to find the right one and get it to the child), she didn’t feel like she could count on that to save her child’s life. While she did have the EpiPen and other medicine with the school’s nurse, she also had Benadryl in her kids’ backpacks. And the kids were instructed if they felt like they were having a reaction to go to the backpack and take the medicine. She trusted her kids more than the teachers or nurse to help them.
She told her kids if they want to suspend you for it then so be it but at least you’ll be alive.
She is currently homeschooling so she no longer has to worry about this.
Do you have an EpiPen or Benadryl at school for your child? Do you have confidence in your child’s teacher or nurse that they would very quickly administer the medicine? Would you ever send back-up medicine in your child’s backpack? What do you make of the Virginia case? Should schools stock EpiPens for kids that have a reaction and didn’t know they were allergic?