The Ohio Association of School Nurses is in the process of writing state legislation that would give school personnel the go ahead to act cases of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and possibly save kids' lives.
The legislation would allow trained school employees to administer EpiPens, auto-injectors of epinephrine to any child presenting with labored breathing, facial tongue or throat swelling; classic symptoms of anaphylaxis. The legsaltion is important because it is illegal in Ohio for school employees to administer epinephrine to students who don't have a prescription on file. Instead they must call 911 even if they have an EpiPen in the office. This is incredibly dangerous because anaphylaxis is deadly and waiting to long for the adrenaline delivered by an EpiPen will likely cause the child suffering from an anaphylactic reaction to lapse into a coma and die.
Kate King, president of OASN, said in a news release. "Our public spaces and buildings are ready with defibrillators and basic first aid equipment. Providing epinephrine treatments at our schools is rational, proactive and potentially life-saving."
The bill isn't sponsored yet by any of our legislators but the OASN is "shopping it around" and believes that they will find a sponsor soon. The bill will be modeled after a recent bill in Virginia that was drafted and quickly passed after the death of a 7 yr. old Amarria Johnson who died waiting for an ambulance because she didn't have an EpiPen prescription on file at school.
My 18 month old toddler has food allergies, one of those is peanuts. I am so glad to see this legislation being drafted although I am surprised that it doesn't already exist. Food allergies are growing at record speeds and scientists have yet to figure out why. But they are real and they can be very dangerous. Being the mother of a child with severe allergies is absolutely nerve wrecking. Schools are chock full of the poison that makes her very sick; Milk, eggs, peanut butter. I've considered homeschooling her for fear that she will be handed a treat from her friends lunch box that will make her violently ill.
I am glad I have a few years before she begins school. Hopefully this bill will pass and if I decide to send her to public school, she will be safer for it.
Does your child or a child you know have food allergies? What is your biggest challenge?
© iStockphoto.com/[Karen Sarraga]