ALLERGY FOUNDATION SAYS PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOLS SHOULD STOCK LIFE-SAVING ALLERGY MEDICATIONS
National Patient Organization Urges Governor Corbett to Sign Important Bill
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) today called on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett to sign legislation protecting children and adults in schools who are at risk of potentially life-threatening allergies. PA House Bill (H.B.) 803 permits schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors, and train school employees to administer the medication to people who may have a severe allergic reaction – known as anaphylaxis – while at school.
Currently, Pennsylvania students with known allergies and a prescription can carry and administer their own epinephrine auto-injectors. However, PA schools cannot currently store epinephrine for emergency use, and school employees are not currently protected against liability claims if they administer these medications in emergencies.
Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergic reaction which can be triggered by allergies to certain foods, medications, latex or insect bites and stings. Symptoms include severe hives, swelling that can block airways, other breathing problems such as asthma attacks, or even a significant drop in blood pressure. Epinephrine is the medication indicated by medical experts as the only first-line treatment for these types of severe allergic reactions. With prompt use, epinephrine is highly effective at treating anaphylaxis, and any delays in use can increase the risk of poor outcomes and even lead to death. Epinephrine auto-injectors are easy to use, quick to administer and low-cost to maintain adequate supplies. The facts are simple: when available and used appropriately, epinephrine auto-injectors can save lives.
“With one in 13 American children living with food allergies, we need to make sure Pennsylvania schools are equipped to protect children who are at-risk for anaphylaxis at school,” said Lynda Mitchell, a Pennsylvania resident and Founder and Vice President of the Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) division of AAFA which is based in Pennsylvania. “With food allergies on the rise, Pennsylvania needs to act now to make epinephrine more accessible to our students.”
A recent study found that one quarter of all reactions experienced at school involve children with previously undiagnosed allergies. If enacted, this law would not only protect students with diagnosed food allergies, but also students who have an allergic reaction for the first time while at school. If schools have access to undesignated epinephrine and staff trained to administer the medication, children’s lives can be saved. Mitchell continued, “Governor Corbett should swiftly sign H.B. 803 to make sure all Pennsylvania children at-risk of severe allergies are safe at school.”
Founded in 1953 and celebrating over 60 years of service, AAFA is the oldest and largest nonprofit patient organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions through education, advocacy and research. AAFA provides practical information, community-based services, support and referrals through a national network of chapters and educational support groups. AAFA also sponsors research toward better treatments and a cure for asthma and allergic diseases. For more information about AAFA, visit www.aafa.org.
ABOUT KIDS WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) is dedicated to keeping children with food allergies safe and healthy through education about prevention, care and treatment, until a cure for food allergy is found. KFA is an essential part of the food allergy and anaphylaxis community offering free patient education programs, webinars, an allergy buyers’ guide, an electronic database of allergen-free recipes and more. KFA hosts the largest and most active online food allergy and anaphylaxis community, a critical platform for parents and caregivers who want to network with others about raising kids with food allergies and related diseases. KFA became a division of AAFA in 2013. For more information visit www.kidswithfoodallergies.org.
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