Pennsylvania’s State Senate Education Committee last week successfully reported a bill, HB 803, that would allow schools to stock epinephrine, a potentially life-saving injectable medicine used to treat severe anaphylaxis, and to train school employees to administer it. Approximately 213,000 children in Pennsylvania have a food allergy and are at risk for a life threatening reaction to food (anaphylaxis).
Lynda Mitchell, Vice President of Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) – a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) – said: “This bill is absolutely critical to keeping our children safe at school. By limiting liability and providing the opportunity to ensure epinephrine auto-injectors (EAIs) are available in schools and are able to be administered by lay persons, the Senate action is helping to lower the risk of potentially fatal circumstances.”
Up to 15 million Americans have a food allergy and could be at risk for anaphylaxis, including a large number of children. Eight percent, or one in 12 children, have a food allergy – up 18 percent from 1997 to 2007.
Mitchell called upon Sen. Folmer and other members of the Senate to keep the momentum of this bill moving forward and to move quickly to ensure its passage in the Senate. Mitchell noted: “The increasing prevalence of allergies and anaphylaxis among children should compel state policymakers to ensure that this bill is passed as soon as possible by the Senate and signed into law.” Important changes to public policy regarding access to emergency epinephrine treatment, such as those provided in this legislation, will effectively lower the risks of anaphylaxis-related mortality in our state’s population of school children.
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