Serious Shortcomings in the Management of Children with Anaphylaxis in Scottish Schools

Kirsty E. Rankin, Aziz Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background

The United Kingdom incidence of anaphylaxis has increased very sharply over the last decade, with the highest rates of hospital admissions occurring in school-aged children. This raises concerns about the extent to which schools are aware of approaches to the prevention and treatment of anaphylaxis.

Methods and Findings

We undertook a national postal survey of 250 Scottish schools enquiring about approaches to managing children considered to be at risk of anaphylaxis. We obtained responses from 148 (60%) schools, 90 (61%) of which reported having at least one at risk child. Most (80%) schools with children considered to be at risk reported having personalised care plans and invariably reported having at least one member of staff trained in the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis. Access to adrenaline was available on-site in 97% of these schools. However, significantly fewer schools without children considered to be at risk reported having a trained member of staff (48%, p < 0.001), with access to adrenaline being very poor (12%, p < 0.001). Overall, 59% of respondents did not feel confident in their school's ability to respond in an emergency situation.

Conclusions

Most schools with children considered to be at risk of anaphylaxis report using personal care plans and having a member of staff trained in the use of, and with access to, adrenaline. The picture is, however, less encouraging in schools without known at risk children, both in relation to staff training and access to adrenaline. The majority of schools with at risk children have poorly developed strategies for preventing food-triggered anaphylaxis reactions. There is a need for detailed national guidelines for all schools, which the Scottish Executive must now ensure are developed and implemented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e326
JournalPLoS Medicine
Volume3
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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