Alabama’s new Epi pen law raises questions from child care providers

MONTGOMERY, Ala.Alabama has joined Georgia in the group of states that allow certain businesses such as restaurants, sports arenas and daycare centers to keep epinephrine injectors on hand.

Businesses that choose to keep the Epi pens in case of an emergency will have to pay for them and have a prescription. The Epi pens are used when someone is having an allergic reaction because of anaphylaxis. Some people are severely allergic to insect stings, food and medication. The allergic reaction can happen quickly or be delayed.

“We might give a medication and the patient, their eyes start watering and itching, their lips and tongue start tingling and then they could break out in hives and that kind of thing and it just progresses from that. However sometimes, it could be delayed for up to a couple of hours,” said Valerie Cochran of the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The Epi pen law does not affect child care centers in Alabama that are licensed by the Department of Human Resources’ Office of Child Care Licensing. Those centers are advised to follow the current law which requires parents to authorize the daycare providers to administer drugs to their children. They must have a prescription. In the case of an emergency, for instance if a child is unaware he or she has an allergy and needs an Epi pen, the child care provider has a tough decision to make.

Officials say a physician’s prescription is required to purchase the Epi pens and those who may need injections should inform others of where to find the devices in case of an emergency.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is offering online training for anyone who wants to learn how to administer epinephrine. You can see the video here http://www.adph.org/nursing/Default.asp?id=7561

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