New law to protect kids with allergies

New law to protect kids with allergies

With food allergies on the rise among kids, the government is taking steps to help protect children at school who suffer from an allergic reactions.

The Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) advocacy group reports that food allergies affect one in 13 kids in the U.S. And just this week, President Barack Obama signed off on a new legislation called the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act that encourages states to adopt laws that will require schools to have a supply of epinephrine allergy medication available.

An epinephrine injection relaxes muscles in the airways and tightens blood vessels to counteract with the allergy effects. This type of medication is used to instantly treat a serious allergic reaction until proper medical treatment can be administered. 

“This is something that will save children’s lives,” said President Obama at the bill-signing ceremony this week. He added that this “is something that every parent can understand.”

The law comes in response to two students deaths after having an allergic reaction after accidentally consuming peanuts while at school a few years ago in Illinois and in Virginia. These preventable deaths set off a firestorm across the nation to do more for children having severe allergic reactions in school.

A year later, Illinois approved a law permitting, not mandating, schools to keep a stock of epinephrine and gives school nurses the right to give the medication to students who may suffer from an allergic reaction.

The legislation gives those states who make the requirement to keep a stock of the medication in schools, a financial incentive and gives them preference when it comes to receiving federal children’s asthma-treatment grants.

According to FARE, nearly 30 states have introduced or have enacted a law allowing schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors.

At the ceremony, FARE also introduced a new advanced epinephrine auto-injector that gives spoken directions to the person administering the medication.

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Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews editor, is manager of social media at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. She has more than 9 years of public relations and marketing experience with a Masters degree in Communications with an emphasis in PR. Sarah loves spending time with her husband and her two pups.