New legislation has been introduced on Capital Hill to help reduce the occurrence of anaphylaxis deaths in schools. The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act requires that school stock non-student specific epinephrine auto injectors. Not only will this law help the students without a known allergy receive the life saving medication, it will also hep staff members, as adult-onset food allergies is now becoming more common.
25% of epinephrine administration at school was the result of a reaction to individuals with NO KNOWN HISTORY of allergies. With the rapid rise of food allergies in the United States, supporting the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act is extremely important. 1 in 13 children in America has a food allergy, that's nearly 2 in every classroom. Approximately 40% of those children's food allergy is life threatening. With no cure, and no known cause, this number has no where to go but up. Our schools will need to prepare.
What can you do as a parent?
- For those with a child who has food allergies attending school (especially those with an EpiPen prescribed to their child), create a comprehensive Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP) and a 504 Plan for your allergic child. The IHCP will insure your child's safety while the 504 plan in insure both the safety and inclusion of your child. For assistance with developing a comprehensive IHCP and 504 plan, please contact the LAN School Action Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 571-989-3LAN (3526).
- Do not assume that because your child never had a severe reaction in the past, only mild reactions, that your child cannot have a severe reaction in the future. Studies have shown that those with mild reaction in the past are at a higher risk for a severe, anaphylactic reaction. The danger is also not knowing when this could happen. It could happen at the next exposure, or several exposures later.
- Whether your child has food or other anaphylactic allergies or not, support the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. Contact our senators and tell your story, your fears and your hopes for your child. Request for them to support this very important law. The stock EpiPens could save your child's life, or the life of your child's teacher, if a reaction occurred without a known allergy.
What can you do as a school?
Comprehend the basic facts about food allergies.
Avoid the allergens.
Recognize the symptoms of a reaction.
Enact emergency protocol.
- It is important to reduce risk where possible. Studies have shown that allergic reactions happen more often in the classroom than in any other area of the school, even the cafeteria and the playground. Food may not be necessary for use as a manipulative or a reward and may be an area where the risk can greatly be reduced. The Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), food allergy management guidelines, "Caring for Students with Food Allergies In School" has 5 pages worth of non-food rewards and celebration ideas for your use.
- Support the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. Contact our senators and tell your story, your fears and your hopes for your students. Request for them to support this very important law.
How to Contact Our Senators
To contact Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb, click the link below:
Here's a sample letter via FAAN: http://www.foodallergy.org/files/faan-epi_bill-model_letter-senate_v2.doc
It is more effective to not only send a letter but also take a moment to call. You may not reach the Senators themselves but their administrative assistants will take detailed messages. It is recommended to keep it short and to the point. State you are a constituent. Request their support and to co-sponsor S-1884, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. State that 25% of epinephrine administration were to individuals with no known history of allergies. Request a call back so you can further go into details.
Recently documented deaths due to allergic reactiSchons:
- Jahrell Dillard, 15 years old, died on August 2011
- Tyler Cody Davis, a college student, died on August 2011
- Katelyn Carlson, 13 years old, died on December 2010
- Megann Ayotte 6 years old, died on September 2010
NBC 12 http://www.nbc12.com/story/16436367/chesterfield-student-dies-from-allergic-reaction
ABC WRIC.com http://www.wric.com/story/16435885/chesterfield-student-child-dies-after-suffering-allergic-reaction-in-school#.TwNRB279xOM.facebook
Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge-newspaper-2008/july-04a.html