Skip to main content
Skip to page content

Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > School Health > Life Threatening Allergies


An allergy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an abnormal immune response to a certain substance that the body reacts to as harmful. A severe allergic reaction with rapid onset can be life threatening. These reactions are also known as anaphylaxis. The most common causes of anaphylaxis are food allergies and insect bites/stings.
This page provides details from the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine (Act 195 of 2014),  Administration of Epinephrine Auto-injectors by School Bus Drivers and School Crossing Guards (Act 2 of 2017), resources for available epinephrine administration devices and access to the current list of approved epinephrine auto-injector administration courses. 
Pennsylvania Guidelines for Management of Food Allergies in Schools  
Act 104 of 2010 charged the Departments of Health and Education with developing state guidelines for managing life threatening food allergies in schools. These guidelines are based on national best practices and Pennsylvania laws/regulations for creating and ensuring a safe, nurturing learning environment for students with food allergies. School administrators, nurses, teachers, office personnel and other staff, along with parents and students, all play an important role in management of food allergies, and important information and tools are included for all of these stakeholders.

Pennsylvania Special Dietary Needs in School Nutrition Programs
The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Food and Nutrition Child Nutrition Programs is committed to ensuring that all students have access to healthy meals through the federal Child Nutrition Programs. Part of their responsibility is providing resources to aid schools in managing the special dietary needs of their students.
These guidelines, published  by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were developed as a result of Section 112 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in order to assist schools and early childhood education programs in management of the risk of food allergies and severe allergic reactions in children.  

Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Resources
The Centers for Disease Control has worked with the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) and National School Boards Association (NSBA) to develop comprehensive guidance and resources for food allergy and anaphylaxis management in the school setting.    
Updated: May 2018