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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Freeman: Schools Need a Supply of EpiPens

Sometime last year, I developed a serious allergy to dairy products, which are in many products. Though I am careful, I sometimes screw up. When I do, I pay the price. Last year, I actually passed out due to a suddenly dropping blood pressure and hit my head on the way down. When I woke up a few minutes later, I had a nice gash.

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."


Anonymous said...

I too am frustrated by not being able to obtain epipens over the counter.
I own a remote property where insects fly freely.
Twice I have had to make the high speed run 20 miles to the nearest hospital.
This important medicine should be readily available to all who might possibly need it.

Clinton Oxford said...

Hopefully, no one was harmed, in your Flight of Death Throe's, to the Hospital. Twice.

tachitup said...

I hope I'm interpreting your comment wrong, Clinton. You seem ignorant of the fact that food(& other) allergies are often extremely serious. My son died from anaphylaxis brought on from a food allergy. I know how serious an allergy can be.

Clinton Oxford said...

@ tachitup....cordially, I say to you; @ age 4 I died from anaphylaxis brought on from a allergy. I know how serious an allergy can be. It is a rotten experience for the child too, with our chest heaving in the air, gasping for breath.

If you really want to hear it from me....we should send peanut butter to school with our children. That's what's wrong with America.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They say your body changes about every 7 years. You may have no allergies at all, and suddenly find you're allergic to shellfish or peanuts or dairy. It is not a good experience, and can be deadly for children and even adults. This is a good bill.

Alan Earnshaw said...


This is a great example of an unfunded mandate. It sounds good, and everyone agrees that it makes sense. People will praise Rep. Freeman for his compassion and care for children. But without state funding, it is yet another item that local taxpayers will have to pay for.

I don't know what a school district would pay for an epipen, and I don't know the shelf life (i.e. how often they will have to be replaced if not used). It probably would not be a huge expense in the overall budget, but this is just another example of what happens every year in the Legislature. (Off the top of my head, I can probably name 20 unfunded and partially funded mandates from both the state and federal level.) Requirements are made that increase costs; the legislators who support the bill get praised, and the school directors are lambasted for proposing tax increases or cutting programs. We're told to "live within our means" or "implement better spending controls," or "eliminate waste" as if we're to blame for making these spending decisions that implement the law.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Alan, This does not sound great. It sounds necessary. Rather than complaining about unfunded mandates, your school district should already be doing this on its own. Those children are in your care.

monkey momma said...

As the mom of a kid with a severe nut (and egg) allergy, I know firsthand that idiots like "Clinton Oxford" say and do stupid things out of ignorance, fear and a general lack of humanity. His comments are the perfect examples of why moms like me turn into Momzilla when we send our allergy-kids off to the public domain. Even non-anonymous folks will say and do things like "Clinton" that leave me very puzzled.

But anyways…

I do hope this bill at least shines a brighter light on the seriousness of food allergies. I also hope it greases the wheels for schools to have an easier time helping the kids who need it. There are no perfect solutions for how to manage food allergies in schools, but having the tools on hand to save lives seems like a no brainer to me. Unfortunately, logic is not the main consideration when reviewing legislation, and I have a strong feeling that liability issues will kill this bill. BUT, bless Rep Freeman for trying! At the very least, he's bringing this issue some much needed attention.

tachitup said...

It's clear to me now; by Clinton's own admission. He's brain dead. And a complete jerk.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see the late Bob Freeman is still around.