HealthDay News — Keeping supplies of epinephrine in schools could save lives, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), held from Nov. 6 to 10 in Atlanta.

In the United States, about 15% of school-aged children with food allergies have had an allergic reaction at school. About one-fourth of epinephrine injections given at schools involve children who didn’t know they had an allergy.

“Many children are trying foods for the first time at school, and therefore it is critical that schools are prepared for a possible anaphylactic reaction,” said Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, of Northwestern University, said in an ACAAI news release.

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Stocked emergency epinephrine was used on 35 children and three adults who suffered anaphalaxis in Chicago public schools during the 2012 to 2013 school year. The drug was administered by a school nurse in three-quarters of the cases. 63% the incidents occurred in elementary schools and 37% in high schools. The most common causes of food-related anaphylaxis were peanuts (55%) and fish such as salmon, tuna, and flounder (13%).

Currently, 41 states have laws recommending schools stock epinephrine.