The Kentucky Senate has now passed HB 172. It will go back to the House for another round of voting before being sent to the Governor for his signature.
The bill encourages schools to keep at least 2 epinephrine auto-injectors on campus in case of emergency.
Language requiring schools to stock emergency allergy medication was removed from the bill and it now encourages, rather than mandates that schools keep epinephrine medication on campus.
Schools who choose to keep epinephrine auto-injectors on campus will be required to implement policies and procedures for managing a student's life-threatening allergic reaction.
Those procedures will be developed and approved by the local school boards.
It also creates a mechanism for schools to receive or purchase epinephrine auto-injectors through the local health department and directs the KY Department for Public Health to develop clinical protocols associated with epinephrine auto-injectors in schools.
Similar legislation has passed in three other states: Maryland, Louisiana, and Virginia. Virginia responded to the need for such legislation after a 7-year old student died last year after suffering from anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction (ex: peanut, milk or shellfish allergies) that can be treated with expeditious administration of epinephrine (adrenaline).
An anaphylactic reaction occurs quickly after exposure to an allergen and often manifests as swelling, difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure, and/or gastrointestinal symptoms.
Increased prevalence of anaphylaxis is likely tied to the rising incidence of food allergies.
In fact, the number of children under age five with a peanut allergy doubled between 1999 and 2004.
Allergic reactions account for approximately 30,000 emergency room visits each year.
(Some information taken from press release by RunSwitch PR)
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