Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Freeman: Schools Need a Supply of EpiPens
But I'm lucky. A food allergy can kill, especially when it's a child who is affected. That's why I'm happy to hear that State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton has introduced a bill that would require schools to maintain a stock of epinephrine auto-injectors and permit authorized personnel to administer them. The bill is designed to save the lives of our children.
"The number of children with reported food allergies has increased dramatically over the past two decades, with many unaware that they even have a food allergy," explains Freeman. "By requiring schools to maintain a supply of EpiPens, my legislation can save the life of a child experiencing anaphylaxis."
Studies have shown that between 16 and 18 percent of children with food allergies have had allergic reactions because they've accidentally ingested the food allergen while at school. And, up to 25 percent of severe allergic reactions occurred in children with no prior history of life-threatening allergies.
Freeman's proposal strengthens a 2010 law that permits a student with severe allergies to carry an epinephrine injector with the approval of the student's doctor and parents.
Food allergy reactions may include hives, itching hands, feet and even ears, a runny rose and severe abdominal pain. "EpiPens deliver medicine quickly, effectively slowing down the reaction until emergency personnel can arrive," says Freeman. "That is why it is so crucial for schools to have EpiPen supplies on hand."