The death of a middle school boy in Corpus Christi who suffered an allergic reaction to fire ants during a football game is creating a strong argument for whether schools should stock Epinephrine. Epinephrine is a potentially life-saving medication for severe allergy attacks.
Death from severe allergic reactions is rare, but it can happen to anyone. Parents in Texoma worry their children are allergic to things they aren't aware of so they are hoping schools will begin to carry EpiPens, the most well-known version of the medication.
"if you don't know that your child is allergic to something, then it can be a really scary situation," said Jennifer Tieman, mother of three kids.
Symptoms for severe allergic reactions appear immediately, such as breaking out in hives, difficulty breathing and in some cases, causes fainting.
"We need to be able to protect our children. If that means putting an EpiPen in a kit, we should. We have trained nurses that can use that EpiPen. We need to have that on board in case something like that fire ant incident in Corpus Christi happens again" said mother of one, Regina Johnston.
"It's a good idea because they're away from their parents at school and trying to get in touch with their parents to find out different things will take too much time. It could be the difference between life and death," said Jerome Spann Jr., father of two college students.
EpiPens are injected into the outer thigh area. Texas is one of 30 states that allow the injection of an EpiPen in students even if they do not have a prescription for it, only four of those states – Virginia, Maryland, Nebraska and Nevada require schools to stock it.
Parents believe having it available could save lives.
"I don't see how hard it would be to train the nurse that's at the school or even administrators. Somebody needs to be able to deliver that in case of an emergency. It should probably be standard at every school," said Edward Schultz, parent of 12 year old, 8 year old and a 3 year old.
Quickly injecting the Epinephrine is key. In case of an emergency, action should be taken right away.
Just one week after the Corpus Christi boy's death, a bill was introduced to the U.S. Senate that would encourage states to require schools to stock Epinephrine.
Severe allergic reactions also known as Anaphylaxis kills about 400 Americans each year. Allergies to food and insect stings cause about 500,000 emergency visits per year.
Nearly 6 million American children have food allergies, and an estimated 2 million children are allergic to stinging insects like fire ants.