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Prevalence and triggers of anaphylactic events in schools

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Background:

Prevention and management of anaphylaxis in schools is an area of active interest as allergy and asthma rates in children continue to increase. A greater understanding of the prevalence and characteristics of anaphylaxis can help guide preventive and management strategies both within and outside of the school setting, with the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality.

Objective:

This study was performed to elucidate the epidemiology of and management strategies for anaphylaxis in the school setting.

Methods:

A cross-sectional, Web-based survey was administered to schools that participated in an initiative that provides stock epinephrine autoinjectors (EAIs) to qualifying U.S. schools. Representatives from participating schools completed a questionnaire regarding anaphylactic reactions that occurred during the 2014‐2015 school year. Weighted analyses were performed to account for differential responses between schools that completed the survey and those that did not.

Results:

A total of 12,275 of the 45,819 invited schools responded to the survey. The occurrence of one or more anaphylactic events was reported by 1358 schools. Most events (89.8% [1803/2008]) occurred in students. High school students accounted for the largest proportion of anaphylactic reactions among students (40.1% [723/1802]). Food was the most commonly identified anaphylaxis trigger across grade levels, seasons, and geographic regions. The trigger was unknown to the individual who experienced anaphylaxis in 21.8% of the events (436/1998). No known history of allergy or asthma was present in 24.5% (491/2001) and 51.3% (1026/2000) of affected individuals, respectively. Transportation to the hospital or clinic for further treatment and/or management was reported for 72.6% of the individuals with anaphylactic events (1450/1997). Results from the weighted analyses were similar to those of the unweighted analyses.

Conclusion:

Anaphylaxis occurred across grade levels and in individuals with or without known risk factors, which reinforced the need for school preparedness in both management of anaphylaxis and stocking of EAIs.
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Keywords: Adolescent allergy; anaphylaxis; anaphylaxis epidemiology; anaphylaxis management; childhood allergy; epinephrine administration; epinephrine autoinjector; food allergy; preparedness; severe allergic reaction

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2017-07-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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