Alabama is the latest state to allow certain businesses such as restaurants, amusement parks and daycare centers to keep epinephrine auto-injectors, commonly referred to as epi pens, on hand so they can intervene should another person have a severe allergic reaction due to anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can be caused by insect stings, foods such as nuts, or medications. If a person is allergic, symptoms of anaphylaxis can appear within minutes to a few hours after contact with the allergen.
Early symptoms may include wheezing, throat tightness, hives and/or itching. Immediate medical treatment may be needed, including an injection of epinephrine. Epi pens are a fast and convenient way for epinephrine medication to be administered to someone experiencing an anaphylactic reaction.
The new law allows the following to keep and use an auto-injector with limited or no liability:
- Colleges and universities
- Child cares and camps
- Amusement parks
- Places of employment
- Youth sports leagues and sports arenas
Businesses that choose to keep the epi pens in case of an emergency will not only have to pay for them, but also have a prescription.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is providing online training for individuals who would like to know how to administer epinephrine with a 16-minute training video that stresses the importance of prompt treatment and demonstrates the proper use of epinephrine auto-injectors. It is available at on the ADPH website. In addition, the site directs those who have been trained to download a certificate of completion.