I am thrilled to report that the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act was signed by President Obama. This is the first federal law encouraging states to require schools to keep lifesaving epinephrine auto-injectors on hand for use in allergic emergencies for students with anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction which can occur within seconds or minutes when exposed to an allergen (e.g. foods, such as peanuts, or the venom from a bee sting). Immediate use of epinephrine is the standard-of-care for children and adults at the first sign of a severe allergic reaction, which can involve one or more symptoms of the skin, mouth, eyes, lungs, heart, gut and brain.
According to a new landmark study, Anaphylaxis in America by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, anaphylaxis likely occurs in nearly 1-in-50 Americans (1.6%) and probably higher.
This legislation empowers trained school personnel to save lives by requiring that this important medication is available to any student with anaphylaxis. It also serves as a catalyst for states to recognize the need for schools to stock undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors.
In addition, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act incentivizes states to adopt the law by giving these states preference in eligibility for federal asthma education grants.
We hope that this new legislature will help any child in school dealing with food allergies and anaphylaxis!