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Anaphylaxis. How is it managed in your school.

(26 Posts)
SavoyCabbage Mon 15-May-17 15:11:36

My dd is in year eight and is anaphylactic to peanuts. She carries her own epidemic in her blazer pocket and there is another epipen in school in a central location.

When she started last year, the school told me she was their first anaphylactic student and nobody had epipen training.

In light of the boy who recently died in his school, Nasar Ahmed, I've decided to go in and talk to them about it. I just wanted to know how anaphylaxis is managed at other schools.

OffRoader Mon 15-May-17 15:18:55

My son is only a toddler, but I would definitely have her carry two pens on her at all times. Then have one in the school office/ at home.

ArabellaRockerfella Mon 15-May-17 16:00:15

I work in a Prep School Rec- Yr 9. Our school has Epipen training for all staff at the beginning of every year. Epipen in the child's classroom and an other in the medical room. Child carries their Epipen and antihistamines/inhalers around to specialist lessons and lunch etc. The onus is on the child to take control of their medication and be responsible (obviously the younger ones are helped and prompted)

SavoyCabbage Mon 15-May-17 16:29:41

Thanks. I agree the onus should be on the child. Especially a 13 year old like mine. I'm just worried that nobody around her will know how to use an epipen or that people won't know she's anaphylactic.

It seems the child who died had an epipen but nobody administered it.

cricketballs Mon 15-May-17 16:55:46

All staff at my school have had epipen training. Although we don't currently have any students who carry one the policy is that if/when we do an extra epipen is kept with in the health and welfare office and details of this stored with the student data. Our reception also has a list of students with potentially life threatening health issues

ArabellaRockerfella Mon 15-May-17 17:23:22

As well as being a teacher I also have an anaphylactic child.
I do think we have to be very strong advocates for the condition and educate those who are unaware and emphasise the importance of quick administration of the Epipen. Go in to school, speak to staff, print off fact sheets and an action plan for the staff room notice board with a photo of your child. The Anaphylaxis Campaign have lots of useful info.
If you are not happy with how his condition is manage you need to push for changes. The tragic death of Naser Ahmed is a highlight to this sad Very sad.

MaureenMLove Mon 15-May-17 17:57:54

As the senior first Aider, I have 8 members of staff that are fully trained and up to date at all times with epi training and those who need them.

Every year, we also have the school community nurse who does a 30 min training with whole school.

I used one on a student a couple of weeks ago, which didn't belong to them. It was a past students, who's pen was still in date and the 999 operator told me to do it. You shouldn't do that without advice from the ambulance controller, but frankly if it's life or death, I would t hesitate.

IMHO, there really is no excuse to not administering one. It's not difficult. The instructions are on the pen. Sadly, you will get staff that refuse to get involved in anything first aid because 'it's not their job' and they are worried they'll get into trouble. This simply isn't true, but no amount of telling staff that actually The Good Samaritan policy was introduced for this very reason. You are not to blame for trying to save a life.

OffRoader Mon 15-May-17 17:59:21

I think the message of 'if in any doubt use Epipen' has to be very clear on the care plan. If you're worried enough to want to call an ambulance, then the Epipen needs to be used first.

My son also wears an allergy alert bracelet.

I teach primary and as I said my DS is only young, but in primary we have photos up/ care plans in the staff room. Care plans are also reviewed with parent/SENCO/nurse yearly.

It's so frightening.

MaureenMLove Mon 15-May-17 18:01:24

Oh, and we have one stored in the medical cabinet, clearly labelled and in alphabetical order on the shelves and one with the student at all times. I check them in the first week of term every year and have a list of when they all run out and am ready with phone calls and letters to have them replaced.

I take my first aid duties very seriously, for my extra £20 a month! grin

PigletWasPoohsFriend Mon 15-May-17 18:01:35

I do think we have to be very strong advocates for the condition and educate those who are unaware and emphasise the importance of quick administration of the Epipen

I agree. My DNephew is anaphelactic to peanuts too. There has been various responses from schools.

SavoyCabbage Mon 15-May-17 18:15:43

I plan to make an appointment to see the school nurse next week.

When she started the school I took in an anaphylaxis plan as this was what happened in her primary school but that wasn't in the uk.

I bought a training epipen and gave it to the school when they said nobody had had any training before. Now I am thinking I need to do more than that.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 15-May-17 19:43:56

Not suggesting this could replace staff training, but can she let her friends know what signs to watch out for to indicate the start of a reaction? So they can get help straight away.

It's not covered by Girl Guiding regular first aid training but it's always a topic of discussion at the training session. We have a Brownie with an epi pen currently and one of the leaders who has training through her work talked us all (leaders I mean) through the girls care plan and how to administer it if neccessary.

It's not difficult, but it's a serious drug and people are wary. But obviously there can be tragic consequences of being afraid to give it.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 15-May-17 19:44:52

The training epi pens are good! Our brownie has one in her kit and it's great to demonstrate what to do and to feel slightly more confident about it

Fozzleyplum Mon 15-May-17 19:59:56

At DS's small ( independent) school, the epipens are kept centrally, but the campus is not huge. The reactions DS has had so far have been tingling to start with, then anaphylaxis some time later, which is what happened to Naser Ahmed. Apart from the anaphylaxis which led to the diagnosis, he's had only initial tingling, which we've so far managed to stave off with a large initial dose of cetirizine and Ventolin.

The school has a laminated copy of each child's action plan in a file, and I have put a copy at the top of his meds bag. The staff are very on the ball about who is allergic and to what, but that might be difficult to replicate in a bigger school.

A friend whose son is dangerously allergic to peanuts, possibly tree nuts, and eggs, takes an orange and an out of date Epipen to train staff.

DS has a Jext pen, which has the same drug as an Epipen, but is a bit easier to administer. We were given a training pen and video.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 15-May-17 20:25:23

DD's school (independent) all staff and every girl year 7 upwards have epipen training that is renew each year. The anaphylactic girls carry a pen with them and then there are spares in the end centre. With 59 acres it could be a while to get a member of staff so all girls understand the routine.

noblegiraffe Tue 16-May-17 08:49:36

I'm a secondary teacher and I had epipen training nearly ten ago when I went on a residential trip with a kid with a nut allergy. Nothing since then, even though I've had kids in my classes with allergies.

I think the best thing for secondary students (as well as asking for whole-staff training and emailing all her teachers each year) would be to show it to her friends and explain how and when to use it. She could well have an allergic reaction when no teachers are easily available (e.g. lunchtime).

When I was at school I had a friend with epilepsy who told us all what to do if they had a fit. I never had to deal with it with them, but I did as a teacher when a student had a fit in my lesson.

SavoyCabbage Tue 16-May-17 10:43:29

She has talked to her friends but was too embarrassed to take the practise epipen in. Maybe now she's been there longer she might feel more confident.

noblegiraffe Tue 16-May-17 11:00:33

This is absolutely something that she cannot afford to be embarrassed about around her friends, and teenagers can be remarkably responsible and mature about this sort of thing.
I remember an incident with a diabetic student in my school who started to get ill during a lesson with a supply teacher. It was their friends who alerted the teacher and told them what action was needed.

Deux Tue 16-May-17 11:18:08

This is a pertinent thread and a good reminder for me. DS is allergic to peanuts. He's in Y8.

In his school bag he has a medical kit with 2 epipens and a small bottle of antihistamine and a copy of his care plan. I have the same thing in the school office. I bought a few items from if it helps anyone else reading. I also laminated some labels that I made myself to attach via carabiners to his kit that read something like 'if in any doubt call 999 and use epipen.

I must check again with the school regarding their training. I've been stashing all unused epipens so we can use them for training if necessary.

My DS had a little shit-head fellow pupil wave an open snickers bar in his face. DS kicked him really hard and shit-head hasn't tried it again.

It worries me so much that it'll be an incident like this that proves fatal. sad. I've told DS that in a situation like that he can use as much force as necessary to protect himself. I'm more worried about these teenage years that I ever was the toddler years.

olderthanyouthink Tue 16-May-17 11:37:57

I think it's important that people around the person with allergies know about it and WHERE the epi pen is and that it's always there.

There was a boy with asthma I'm a form group and he had an attack in class.
We all knew what was happening and some of us started looking for his inhaler in his bag and blazer and some tried to get the teachers attention and make her aware of the situation (she was telling us off for being disruptive).
The teacher (our form tutor) started performing the Heimlich manoeuvre before she properly listened to us.
Still couldn't find his inhaler so someone had to run to first aid to get a spare.
Turned out the boy had put his inhaler in a different pocket to usual and panicked when he couldn't find it. He was fine in the end but it was worse than it needed to be.

MaureenMLove Tue 16-May-17 16:14:23

I do agree that the onus should be on the child to start looking out for themselves, but they are still very young in yr 7 and even yr 8 to not have some form of guidance (and reassurance for you). They've spent their entire life up to secondary school dependant on home and probably a reasonably small primary school in comparison to a sprawling secondary school.

It's not easy in secondary. We have 1500 pupils and over 100 staff. When we get a student with medical needs, I am the first to know and meet with parents to discuss if necessary. I then let the key people know. I.e form tutor and class teachers and the other 7 first aiders. (Each year group have a dedicated first Aider). I can't possibly expect every member of staff to know and remember the medical history of every child though.

In short, I think it's really important for children's nearest friends to know what to do in case of emergency and for them to understand that at some point they will have to look after themselves.

I've been looking at our procedures today with the HT, precisely because of this incidence and I'm not sure what more we can do, other than hope beyond all hope that we never find ourselves in that situation.

SavoyCabbage Tue 16-May-17 16:26:14

Dd is taking our practise pen in tomorrow to show her friends. When she started secondary it was halfway through year seven as we had been living abroad. She know nobody at all and had an accent and she didn't want another thing making her the odd one out. The death of Nasar Ahmed has made me pull my socks up about it all.

I emailed the school nurse this morning who told me that several members of staff have been trained but I've now found out she means playing about with the epipen I provided last year. Not actual training.

Deux Tue 16-May-17 16:41:02

I agree that this is a transition time for teens. Moving towards responsibility. Reading this thread makes me realise that though DS's friends know, they wouldn't know how to administer an epipen. I was surprised when practising myself how much force is actually needed and then to hold it there.

OP. Have a look at the Anaphylaxis Campaign website and also Allergy Action.

I think it's AC who do teen seminars. I think I'm going to try to get DS on to something like this. They have some good resources. They were very helpful to me when DS was much younger. His school was very proud of their nut free policies until I found out that the class hamster was fed peanuts. confused

One other thing. At our hospital there is a Paediatric Community nurse and she will go out to schools and train.

Another realisation for me is to find out exactly what schools mean when they say they've had epipen training.

irvineoneohone Wed 17-May-17 23:18:39

It sounds even more scarier to send allergic child to secondary than primary...
My ds is only in primary, but he always does show & tell with practice epipen beginning of the year, so other children are at least aware of his allergies.

lotusbomb Sun 21-May-17 09:18:46

We had Epipen training in my school, I honestly thought it was mandatory? I understand about onus and responsibility where the child is concerned but to know you ave at least one child in the school that might require the use of it and not ensure people are clued up seems bizarre to me.

In my school, the stipulation was one in the bag, one in the first aid room, all staff trained on how to use it. Getting friends to understand how to use it seems sensible to me too.

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