The Foundation is committed to building healthier communities throughout the Upper Cumberland and works in collaboration with local school systems, law enforcement and community groups to secure EpiPen kits, which allow organizations to be prepared to respond to a potentially deadly allergic reaction.
Anaphylactic shock — or anaphylaxis — is an extreme, life threatening, allergic reaction. It may occur after an insect sting; consuming food; or being exposed to chemicals, toxins or environmental antigens.
An estimated one in every 13 children has an allergy that may lead to anaphylaxis. Often, allergies do not become apparent until children reach puberty. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that allergic reactions result in more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits each year among children under the age of 18.
Each year, the Foundation communicates with school health offices in the 14counties of the Upper Cumberland to ensure that each school has access to an EpiPen kit at no cost to the school. The Foundation also purchases EpiPen kits for traveling high school sports teams in the school systems of DeKalb, Jackson, White, Clay, Cumberland and Putnam counties. Each EpiPen kit contains two epinephrine auto injectors and a training DVD. Training will be administered to coaches and appropriate high school staff in cooperation with the Coordinated School Health Program.
In 2017, Cookeville became the first city in Tennessee to include EpiPen kits on all police department vehicles thanks to the Foundation’s EpiPen Program. Cookeville has trained all officers on appropriate use of epinephrine and the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis. In 2016, Representative Ryan Williams and Senator Paul Bailey spearheaded Public Chapter 801. The bill effectively allows police officers to legally administer epinephrine during emergency situations when they suspect that anaphylactic shock is occurring.
Over the coming years, we hope to expand this program to additional high schools, law enforcement offices in rural communities, and organizations that are frequently active in the outdoors, such as Boy Scouts, etc. Please contact the Foundation office if you would like to help us expand the EpiPen Program.