New NC Epinephrine Bill in House Today!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jodi Stokes,  info@pakcharlotte.org

Parents of Allergic Kids Applauds NC Bill Making Epinephrine Available in Restaurants, Theme Parks & Other Public Places

Legislation, which will be Heard Today Before Health Committee, Provides another Critical Safeguard for NC Children, Following 2014 Passage of Bill Requiring Emergency Epinephrine in Schools

CHARLOTTE, NC (April 16, 2015) – Parents of Allergic Kids Charlotte (PAK Charlotte), the region’s largest support group for families with allergic children, today urged the enactment of legislation which would help make epinephrine – the first-line medication to treat anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction – available in places such as restaurants, recreation camps, youth sports leagues, theme parks, resorts, and sports arenas.

The legislation, House Bill 647, allows entities to obtain epinephrine auto-injectors (prescribed by a physician) for emergency use, and authorizes trained employees to administer epinephrine to anyone suffering from anaphylaxis. The bill, which was introduced this week by state Reps. Rick Glazier, (D-Cumberland); Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson); Marilyn Avila (R-Wake); and Sarah Stevens (R-Surry/Wilkes), will be considered today by the North Carolina House Committee on Health.

“As parents of children living with allergies, we know how important it is to have epinephrine with us at all times,” said Jodi Stokes, coordinator of PAK Charlotte. “Like the law requiring epinephrine in schools, this legislation will provide an extra layer of protection for North Carolina children, especially those with undiagnosed allergies. Just like schools, other places that serve children should be able to obtain and store epinephrine in case of emergency.”

Stokes continued, “Anaphylaxis can happen at any time and can be caused by food, medications, insect venom, latex, and other allergens. It’s extremely important that we make epinephrine available for emergency use wherever children might encounter allergens and suffer a severe reaction. Like other parents across the state, we hope lawmakers will pass House Bill 647 and make it possible for restaurants, theme parks and other places to have epinephrine auto-injectors in an emergency.”

Food allergies are the most common trigger of anaphylaxis – a severe and potentially fatal systemic allergic reaction that occurs suddenly after contact with an allergen. Anaphylaxis can cause swelling that can block airways, other breathing problems such as asthma attacks, or even a significant drop in blood pressure. Epinephrine slows down the effects of an allergic reaction in the critical minutes following an exposure, giving emergency and hospital personnel time to treat the victim and often saving the victim’s life.

According to a study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, food allergies affect one in 13 (or 8 percent of) American children under the age of 18. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of American children with allergies increased 18 percent between 1997 to 2007

About Parents of Allergic Kids Charlotte (PAK Charlotte)

PAK Charlotte, the area’s largest support group for families with allergic children, was formed in 2006. Members include parents of children, ranging from infants to young adults, who have life-threatening food, latex and venom allergies. The goal of PAK Charlotte is to raise awareness about the prevalence and severity of food allergies, while educating parents, caregivers, professionals, and our children's peers. For more information, visit http://www.pakcharlotte.org/

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