Food Allergies on the Rise: EpiPen Legislation
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Food Allergy has become a growing concern for Americans, particularly parents of school-age children. There have been several documented deaths amongst students exposed to allergens at school. There is a high probability that these students would have survived, had they been given immediate access to epinephrine.
This week, on October 2nd, the U.S. Senate will come to a decision on H.R. 2094: School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. The bill passed in the House in July of this year, and basically mandates that all schools have EpiPens readily available for any student having an allergic reaction to food.
In many cases, students and parents aren’t aware of a particular food allergy until the initial reaction. As children are exposed to new and different foods in schools, there is a greater chance that the initial allergic reaction to food occurs at school. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the severity of food allergies, and how quickly one can go from exposure to death. In some instances, an anaphylactic reaction (response to allergen) occurs within seconds of being exposed to an allergen. For some, this reaction can occur by skin contact with an allergen, and actual ingestion is not necessary for a severe reaction to take place.
It will definitely help to save lives if schools are equipped to immediately recognize and treat food allergy reactions. Still, a larger concern that is less discussed is the fact that food allergies have significantly increased in less than fifteen years. In order to improve life quality and save lives on a greater scale, we must recognize the underlying causes and address them accordingly.
A study recently released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that food allergies have increased by 50% from 1997 to 2011. FARE, the Food Allergy Research and Education organization, reports that though there is awareness of such a significant increase, there are no reported causes.
In similar situations, part of the increase is due to medically recognizing and documenting the condition which had not previously been done. Still, that does not account for the dramatic spike in numbers. There is clearly an overload of toxins that the human body cannot fight without eventually turning against itself. It may be the polluted air and water, the processed foods, a combination of all of these, or something entirely differently.
Whether Senate passes this bill or not, it has definitely helped raise awareness on rise of food allergies and its significant side effects. Hopefully, this will prompt thorough research on the causes of such allergies.