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Emergency Protocol Targets Asthma, Anaphylaxis in Schools

Nebraska protocol could become national model for other school-based programs

FRIDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- An emergency protocol developed in 1998 after two Omaha children died from acute asthma attacks at school could serve as a national model for other school-based programs for children and adolescents with asthma and anaphylaxis, according to a study published in the March issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Kevin R. Murphy, M.D., of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, and colleagues designed the Emergency Response to Life-Threatening Asthma or Systemic Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis) Protocol for use in 78 Omaha public schools. Nurses and school staff used nebulized albuterol and intramuscular epinephrine to rapidly treat children in a life-threatening emergency.

Ninety-eight students were successfully treated between 1998 and 2003, and one student died. Of those treated with the protocol, 30.3 percent had asthma action plans and metered-dose inhalers, 33.3 percent had metered-dose inhalers only, and 36.4 percent had neither. In 2003, a revised protocol was approved by the Nebraska State Board of Education for use in all schools to address life-threatening asthma or anaphylaxis.

"Their efforts represent an encouraging model that confirms that individual physicians acting as advocates to institute scientifically grounded principles of care can indeed exert an impact on public health in their own communities," states the author of an accompanying editorial.

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