Did you know that you could kill someone with a peanut butter sandwich? How about a glass of milk? For thousands of people in our country you could do just that - Kill them with a child's favorite lunch! For more information on Food Allergies please click here - FAAN
Food allergies are real and unfortunately are on the rise. No one knows for sure why that is. I have several theories but like everyone else we just don't have an answer, yet.
One of my guesses would be: We are better at diagnosing allergies now then in the past. I know for years I stayed away from certain foods because I "didn't like them", or "the made me feel uncomfortable" after eating. Now after being tested I have learned that I am actually allergic to them. I think many people stay away from foods instinctualy because they know they are allergic or at the least intolerant to them.
Right now though I am on a mission. Both my young sons have allergies and must carry an Eppi Pen with them. My youngest for his MAJOR food allergies and my older because he is allergic to bees/hornets/wasps. (I know not a food but it relates to this story).
Because of these life threatening allergies, both my boys must have their Eppi pens with them at all times, including school. This way if they have a reaction their life can be saved by someone (even themselves) injecting the epinephrine into their thigh and then calling 911. By giving them the Eppi as soon as possible it greatly improves their chances of reaching the hospital ALIVE!
On January 2nd a young girl, Ammaria Johnson died at school due to her food allergies. Click here for the full story as covered by CNN Allergy Death of 1st grader . This story made me so mad! It did not have to happen and YOU can help prevent it from happening again.
Ammaria lived in Virginia which is a state that does not have standard protocols for the schools which allows them to have Eppi Pens in the nurses office for anyone who needs them. In this state a child must have a "health plan" which includes doctors orders for the Eppi Pen and have one brought and stored at the school by the parent. This is fine for those who already know they have an allergy that needs an Eppi but what about those who are not aware of they have an allergy - like my son Keegan? OR for those who's medical insurance only allows 1 Eppi pen per child per year or even for those who have no insurance and can not afford this life saving medicine. Eppi Pens are expensive for the average person. The average cost of just one injection is around $100.00. In my house we have to have 2 for Konnor and 2 for Keegan. (Keegan needs a higher dose then Konnor due to his weight).
So what can you do? And before you say "this doesn't effect me", if you know a child then it does effect you. Keegan didn't know until he was 7 that he was allergic to bee stings and that first sting would have caused anaphylaxis in him. How would you feel if it was your child that died because the school could do nothing except call 911 and wait while the child died.
PLEASE take the time to revise this letter and send it off to your senator. Together we can make the change that can save a child, a family from going through what Ammarie's family has.
MODEL Letter of Support for the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act
Note: Please paraphrase. It is important that Senators do not receive duplicates of the same letter from different individuals. You can look up your local senators at www.senate.gov.
The Honorable (insert Senator’s name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator (insert name):
I am writing to ask you to co-sponsor S. 1884, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, introduced by Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk. I am the parent of a child with severe food allergies. (Personalize here by inserting a brief description of your child’s allergies.)
Children with food allergies are at risk for anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. To prevent death, anaphylaxis must be treated promptly with an injection of epinephrine. The Durbin-Kirk bill would encourage states to ensure that epinephrine is available in schools and that school personnel are trained to administer it in an emergency. Epinephrine is safe and easy to administer. Children are able to self-administer the medication, and any adult working in a school would be capable of learning how to administer epinephrine in a matter of minutes.
Nearly 6 million American children have potentially life-threatening food allergies. Schools need to be prepared to treat allergic reactions in the event a student’s personal epinephrine auto-injector isn’t available or the student is having a reaction for the first time.
The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act is not a controversial bill. It is endorsed by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of School Nurses. On average it will cost a school just over $100 to have epinephrine available to prevent a fatality from anaphylaxis. This is a small price to pay to save the life of a child.
I hope you will co-sponsor the Durbin-Kirk bill and work to assure passage of this legislation. Thank you for considering my views.