Emergency epinephrine use for food allergy reactions in Chicago Public Schools

Lilliana DeSantiago-Cardenas, Victoria Rivkina, Stephanie A. Whyte, Blair C. Harvey-Gintoft, Bryan J. Bunning, Ruchi S. Gupta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Given the increase in childhood food allergy, national and local policies have been developed to encourage schools to stock undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors in case of an anaphylactic emergency. Purpose: To describe the use of epinephrine auto-injectors in Chicago Public Schools during the 2012-2013 school year, speci fically for food-induced allergic reactions. Methods: District-issued epinephrine auto-injectors were distributed to all public and charter schools in Chicago prior to the start of the 2012-2013 school year. Data on their use were collected, and frequencies were computed in the autumn of 2013. Results: Thirty-eight district-issued epinephrine auto-injectors were administered during the inaugural year of the Chicago Public Schools initiative. Epinephrine auto-injectors were administered to students (92.1%) and school staff (7.9%). Most district-issued epinephrine auto-injectors were administered in elementary schools (63.2%) and on Chicago's North-Northwest Side (36.8%). More than half (55.0%) of all district-issued epinephrine auto-injectors were administered for firsttime anaphylactic events. Food-induced reactions accounted for more than half (55.3%) of all reactions requiring epinephrine auto-injector use, whereas the trigger of more than one third (34.2%) of all reactions requiring the use of an epinephrine auto-injector remained unknown. Conclusions: Chicago Public Schools is the first large, urban school district in the U.S. to develop and implement the District-Issued Emergency Epinephrine Initiative, which helped 38 students and staff avoid potential morbidity and mortality. The impact of this initiative during its first year underscores the need for stocking undesignated epinephrine in schools across the country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-173
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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