MEDFORD, Ore. — Catrina Quintana remembers when her son had his first allergic reaction three years ago. He was eating a treat with almonds his grandfather gave him.
“He spit it out really fast and started crying, and we’re like ‘Asher, what’s going on?'” said Quintana.
Quintana said her son’s allergy to peanuts and tree nuts caught her by surprise.
“No one in our family has food allergies. I didn’t even know what to look for,” said Quintana.
Allergic reactions like in the case of Quintana’s son can be off set with epinephrine, administered through a self-injectable device.
Now, Grants Pass School District 7 has changed their policy and will allow trained staff to help with the potentially lifesaving medication, not just licensed health care providers.
“We’d rather err on the side of those people having access to epinephrine auto injectors to use at appropriate scenarios than waiting, for example, a school nurse,” said Dr. Kevin Parks of The Allergy and Asthma Center of Southern Oregon.
Doctor Kevin parks says nearly half of all reactions occur before a diagnosis has been made. For that reason, doctor parks said it’s essential auto injector devices are available for use.
“This explains to the person who is administering it how to do it, even in a stressful situation when a child may be having an anaphylactic reaction. If a person has never used an auto injector, the device can actually walk them through the process,” said Dr. Parks.
Quintana’s son is home schooled, but she says the new policy change will have an impact in an emergency.
“A lot of times, you don’t have enough time to get to a school nurse to administer epi, so hopefully teachers are able to do that,” said Quintana.