Food Allergy Research

Emergency Epinephrine Used 38 Times in Chicago Public Schools

Before the start of the 2012-2013 school year, epinephrine auto-injectors (EAIs) were distributed to all schools in the Chicago Public School (CPS) system, the third largest school district in the U.S. Data on the use of these unassigned auto-injectors was collected and reviewed by a team of researchers, led by Ruchi S. Gupta, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago), a member of FARE’s Medical Advisory Board. Their study, published online by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on Oct. 22, found that 38 auto-injectors were used during the school year, and that:

  • Most of the EAI recipients (92 percent) were students
  • More than half (55 percent) didn’t know they had a food allergy
  • Twenty-one EAIs (55 percent) were administered to treat food allergy reactions
  • Peanut was the most common food allergen (18 percent), followed by fin fish (13 percent)
  • In more than a third of the reactions, the trigger was unknown (34 percent)
  • Elementary schools had the most cases of EAI administration (63 percent)
  • In most cases (76 percent), school nurses administered the medication

This study underscores the need for school access to epinephrine, one of FARE’s advocacy priorities. FARE was instrumental in helping pass the Illinois stock epinephrine law (both in 2011 and a revision in 2014) and was part of the team that helped CPS develop its stock epinephrine guidelines. You can help advance our national stock epinephrine work and other key advocacy initiatives by joining the FARE Advocates Network.

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