PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Every three minutes, a food allergy sends someone to the emergency room.
The problem is so bad; the CDC reports 300,000 kids under 18 go via ambulance.
With statistics like that you would think schools would have epinephrine or EpiPens required or at least readily available, but that’s not the case in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is one out of only about a dozen states that currently have no laws on the books when it comes to either allowing or requiring EpiPens for emergency use in schools.
Virginia is one of the recent states to change its laws after a first grader died at school.
Those fighting here say they hope it doesn’t have to come to that for things to change.
Ross Township mom Amanda Greenland vividly remembers the day her son, then 2-years-old, ate a peanut butter sandwich.
“His throat closed up. He started crying; he got hives all over,” Greenland said.
It was mere hours later that her son, Andrew, received his first dose of epinephrine.
With a diagnosed allergy to peanuts, Andrew, who is now 4, always has an EpiPen or Auvi-Q injectable on hand including at his preschool, but that’s only because it’s been provided by his parents.
Right now in Pennsylvania, schools are not required to have the life-saving devices at the nurse’s station, so kids with undiagnosed allergies who come in contact with things like nuts, eggs and milk are at risk.
“It’s a very scary thing and knowing what can happen with anaphylaxis and death is what an outcome could be, it’s a scary situation that would be easily resolved,” Greenland said.
Greenland is one of the supporters of an epinephrine stocking law in Pennsylvania.
The bill title HB 803 would allow Pennsylvania schools a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a quarter of EpiPen injections in schools are kids whose allergy wasn’t known at the time of the reaction.
If you’d like to write to state legislators about EpiPens, visit the links below: