Univ. of Maryland puts EpiPens in campus dining halls

This Oct. 10, 2013, file photo, shows an EpiPen epinephrine auto-injector, a Mylan product, in Hendersonville, Texas. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WTHR) — With food allergies on the rise in America, the University of Maryland is doing its part to help save lives.

Dr. David McBride and Colleen Wright-Riva worked with lawmakers to make EpiPens available in every dining hall on campus.

WBAL reports the university began installing EpiPens in campus cafeterias last week next to AED devices. Wright-Riva said having EpiPens on site gives the school a "second layer of protection" for students with food allergies, especially those who may not know they have them.

"We have about 100 students who have self-identified with allergies — some not so serious, others life-threatening — and that number is a little smaller than the national average, so we think there are others who have not shared their allergies or don't know they have allergies," Wright-Riva said.

With the help of McBride and Wright-Riva, Maryland passed a bill last October allowing universities in the state to carry EpiPens. If a student is in need, they can open the case, which will sound an alarm so staff knows there is someone in need of help.

McBride said the EpiPens themselves are very easy to administer and all staff is trained, which could make all the difference for someone suffering from a severe allergic reaction.

"A serious food reaction can be quite rapid, so administration of epinephrine early in an anaphylaxis reaction is extremely important.'

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