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Manar passes measure to expand access to emergency epinephrine in schools

epipenOn Wednesday, State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) passed legislation expanding access to emergency epinephrine in Illinois schools to protect children from life-threatening allergic reactions.

Manar’s proposal would expand the law to allow a trained school employee or volunteer to administer an EpiPen to anyone at the school in anaphylactic shock due to an allergic reaction.

 

“More and more children are being diagnosed with food allergies, with peanuts, eggs, milk, soy and wheat as the most common culprits,” Manar said. “Ensuring timely access to this life-saving medication can mean the difference between life and death for a child.”

Under current law, school nurses are allowed to administer emergency epinephrine auto-injectors, or EpiPens, to students with a prescription or to any student that is having an anaphylactic reaction. The law also allows a school to maintain a supply of EpiPens prescribed by a physician.

Studies show that 25 percent of first-time allergic reactions among children occur at school. With many schools in Illinois lacking a full-time nurse on staff, concerns have been raised that the life-saving medicine may not be readily available in an emergency.

State Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, sponsored the bill in the House.

“I am very proud to be working with the Attorney General’s office and all concerned parties to clarify and improve the Emergency Epinephrine Act,” Mussman said. “Food allergies are on the rise, and it is vital that children and adults in our school buildings have timely access to this life-saving medication.”

The proposal, House Bill 5892, now awaits the governor’s signature. 

Related: Proposals deal with increase in food allergy rates

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