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Donated EpiPens to school may save lives

Oct. 23, 2012 at 5:28 PM

MADISON, Wis., Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Officials at the Dean Clinic and Dean Health Plan in Madison, Wis., said they donated EpiPens -- used to treat an allergic reaction -- to 243 schools.

"EpiPens are a crucial tool needed to help stop an allergic reaction," Dr. Reid Olson, an allergist at the Dean Clinic, said in a statement. "EpiPens are a first line of treatment and they can actually stop a reaction in a matter of minutes."

Wisconsin law allows children with known allergies to have an EpiPen with them in schools, but Olson said it is still important schools have a backup for children who get their first allergic reaction in school.

"If a child's first exposure to the allergen is at school, they may not have an EpiPen or an action plan set up with the school," Olson said. "This is when having the device in the schools is critically important."

The program will run through the 2016-17 school year. New EpiPens would be delivered to the schools each of the next five years. If an EpiPen is used during the school year, a new EpiPen would be replaced without cost to the school district, Olson said.

"The program was piloted in the Madison School District last year when we donated more than 40 EpiPens to the district," Craig Samitt, chief executive officer of the Dean Clinic, said. "First grade Gompers Elementary School student, Talon Hogan gave us all the reason in the world to not only continue the program, but expand it, after a donated EpiPen was used on him during an allergic reaction at school."

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