Will Kentucky be the next state to prevent deadly allergic reactions in school children? There is a push by a Kentucky lawmaker who wants to make sure every school in the state has epinephrine injector pens or EpiPens on hand.
House Bill 172 passed out of the House Education Committee in Frankfort last week. It should come to a full house vote soon. Right now, Kentucky schools are not required to keep emergency medications on hand to treat allergic reactions. This bill is getting support from some parents and doctors.
Ali Elder is 11 years old and can tell you all about her allergy to nuts.
"My mouth starts to tingle and it just gives me a weird feeling in my mouth that I ate it," said Ali.
Her mother, Amy, knew something was wrong when Ali was two.
"We started introducing peanut butter," said Amy Elder. "That's what everybody eats that. She had a peanut butter cookie and had a reaction. "
That's why Amy keeps an EpiPen with her at all times, in her purse, in her car, and she even has one at Ali's school.
"We've never had to use to thank goodness," said Amy. "It's one of those things that it could save her life."
Republican State Representative Addia Wuchner from northern Kentucky is proposing House Bill 172. If passed, it would require Kentucky schools to keep at least two epinephrine injector pens on campus and have an emergency action plan for life-threatening reactions. It also proposes that students with life-threatening allergies have a personal EpiPen at school. It would absolve trained school administrators from liability for giving the medication. It's something Dr. Mark Corbett from Allergy Care supports.
"The access to epinephrine is the treatment of choice," said Mark Corbett. "We know sooner you administer the epinephrine the better chance you have to stopping the reaction."
Since allergies are sometimes unpredictable, Amy hopes the bill can help children like hers.
"Sometimes seconds matter if the school has something there they can treat the child right away it can help," said Amy.
Schools have mixed feelings about the bill. The Kentucky School Board Association says it's an unfunded mandate. The EpiPens can cost anywhere from $100 to $300. Also, many school administrators have reservations about making medical decisions.
Schools can apply to get them for free in the first year from a pharmaceutical company.
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