Time Trends in Food Allergy Diagnoses, Epinephrine Orders, and Epinephrine Administrations in New York City Schools

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Abstract

Objectives

To assess time trends in food allergy diagnoses, epinephrine autoinjector (EAI) prescriptions, and EAI administrations in the school setting.

Study design

In this retrospective study, deidentified student data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which oversees >1 million students in 1800 schools, were provided to investigators. Data from school years 2007-2008 to 2012-2013 pertaining to diagnoses of food allergy, student-specific EAI orders, and EAI administrations among students in New York City were analyzed for trends over time, via the use of ORs and χ2 calculation.

Results

The prevalences of providing physician documentation of food allergy and EAI orders, and the incidence of EAI administrations, all increased approximately 3-fold over the years of the study. Of 337 EAI administrations, more than one-half used stock EAI, and three-quarters were for students without a student-specific order preceding the incident.

Conclusions

The rise in food allergy diagnoses, EAI prescriptions, and EAI administrations suggest either a true increase in allergic disease, increased reporting, and/or, in the case of EAI administrations, increased appropriate use. As the majority of EAI administrations used stock supply, availability of nonstudent-specific stock EAI appears vital to management of anaphylaxis in schools. Collaboration between physicians, families, and schools is needed to identify students at risk for severe allergic reactions and to ensure preparedness and availability of EAI in the event of anaphylaxis.

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