Food Allergy at School: Self-Carrying Epinephrine Matters [Video]

in Food Allergy, Managing Allergies
Published: March 27, 2023

Self-carrying epinephrine auto-injectors at school. It can be a difficult topic with administrators and school nurses. But Allergic Living’s parenting contributor Megan Lavin is firmly on the side of: kids with food allergies need to self-carry.

In this episode of the Megan’s Minute video series for Allergic Living, the experienced allergy mom explains why she finds this by far the best option. Her sons both have multiple food allergies, and they’ve both self-carried auto-injectors since they started school. 

Megan, who owns the recipe website, always wants her sons’ epinephrine quickly and easily available. 

As Allergic Living has covered, studies have shown that not having epinephrine readily available can lead to more severe reactions. Delay in getting epinephrine, unfortunately, has also been a key factor in tragedies, including some recent ones.

If as an allergy parent, you’re facing pushback from your school on this topic, or perhaps you’re unsure how to proceed, you’ll find Megan’s process enlightening. Also, be aware that self-carrying epinephrine is a right of food-allergic students in all states.

Self-Carrying Epi: Megan’s Method

Megan and her family have moved and changed schools six times. So she is truly a veteran at working with school administrations.

“The schools often tried to assure me that office staff had a key to the nurse’s office in case the nurse was gone,” says Megan in the video. “That still didn’t feel safe to me since I wasn’t sure if they would know where she kept it, even once they gained access to her office.” As well, she notes that front office staff can be sick or absent, so what would happen then if one of her boys was having a reaction?

“To me, there were too many loopholes when they could just have it in their backpacks,” she explains.

In the video, Megan walks through: 

  • How her boys keep their auto-injectors in their backpacks.
  • Where the backpacks stay at school, plus making them instantly identifiable.
  • Getting an allergist’s note that a child needs to carry the auto-injectors. Also, including this when discussing a 504 plan for accommodations.
  • Creating a backpack-carrying habit with kids. This is most helpful for after-school sports, visits and more.
  • Why the backpack approach is effective for kids who ride a school bus.
  • As kids are mature enough, knowing how to self-administer.

Megan knows that it can feel intimidating if school administrators are pressing for all medications to stay in the nurse’s office. But with the allergist’s help, and reminders of self-carrying law, you can make your case successfully. 

In the end, says Megan: “standing your ground will bring you peace for the rest of the school year.”

Related: Schools and Locked-Up Epinephrine

Megan’s Minute Series

Join Allergic Living monthly for a new installment of Megan’s Minute with Megan Lavin, the creator of the Allergy Awesomeness blog, which features great Top-9 free recipes and articles. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Following are some of the previous Megan’s Minute videos:
Creating a School 504 Plan
Going to Birthday Parties
Eating Out Safely with Allergies
How to Hire a Babysitter
Food Allergy 101
Married with Food Allergies (Megan and her husband)

See more of the series on Allergic Living’s Youtube channel or Instagram page.