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The push for EpiPens in schools - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

The push for EpiPens in schools

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Spencer Kavanagh suffered a severe allergic reaction in kindergarten. Now, he carries his EpiPen on him at all times.

"I have two of them," he said. "Because if I like, if I used one and then I do it, then I have another one, like another allergic reaction again somewhere, I can use both of them."

The second-grader has several allergies that can send him into anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition.

"The foods Spencer is allergic to are peanuts and tree nuts, coconut, a number of fruits, latex," mom Sue Kavanagh said.

EpiPens contain epinephrine. When taken within minutes of a severe reaction, it could mean the difference between life and death. Almost all schools allow children with known allergies like Spencer to carry EpiPens, but advocates worry about the students who may not be aware they are allergic until it's too late.

"About 25 percent of children who experience anaphylaxis experience it for the first time at school," said Charlotte Collins of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

A federal bill that provides incentives to states to stock emergency EpiPens in school has made it through the House of Representatives. Twenty-seven states have already passed their own legislation and five other states have bill pending.

"It's five seconds with the injectors to save a child's life," Sue Kavanagh said. "If we can save a kid's life, why wouldn't we?"

The issue is finding the money to pay for the medicine and the training.

Three states-- Iowa, Mississippi and New York-- introduced school epinephrine bills, but they failed to become law.

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