Anaphylaxis is a rare but very serious reaction that can affect several areas of the body and may threaten breathing and blood circulation. Food allergy is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, although several other allergens—insect stings, medications, or latex—are other potential triggers. Rarely, anaphylaxis is triggered by exercise. Very rarely, anaphylaxis can occur without an identifiable trigger. Although anyone who has a food allergy can experience anaphylaxis, the foods most likely to cause a severe reaction are peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Epinephrine (adrenaline) is a medication that can reverse the severe symptoms of anaphylaxis. It is given as a “shot” and is available as a self-injector, also known as an epinephrine autoinjector, which can be carried and used if needed. Epinephrine is a highly effective medication, but it must be administered promptly during anaphylaxis to be most effective. Delays can result in death in as little as 30 minutes.
Wisconsin law permits the university to acquire and maintain a supply of epinephrine autoinjectors which may be administered by authorized agents of the university to an individual they believe in good faith is experiencing anaphylaxis. The purpose of this policy is to describe the process and requirements for the selection and training of authorized agents and the acquisition and storage of epinephrine auto-injectors at UW–Madison.
The content of this policy is applicable to all UW–Madison locations. This policy does not apply to epinephrine auto-injectors within university healthcare facilities which are not designated as public access. This policy does not cover the acquisition or use of an epinephrine auto-injector by a healthcare provider employed by or acting as an agent of the university nor does this policy cover self-administration of personally prescribed epinephrine auto-injectors by any individual.
The purchase, placement, use, and maintenance of epinephrine auto-injectors at the UW–Madison will conform to the requirements established in this policy. No unit is permitted to acquire epinephrine auto-injector(s) without approval by the process established herein. All epinephrine auto-injector programs will be approved by the medical staff of the Department of Athletics (for facilities and personnel under their jurisdiction) or University Health Services (for all other units). In general, funding for the epinephrine auto-injector program will be the responsibility of the work unit.