PHOENIX, Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today advocates from the Arizona Food Allergy Alliance (AFAA) and representatives from the Arizona Asthma & Allergy Institute and the Alvernon Allergy & Asthma P.C., joined Governor Jan Brewer for the ceremonial signing of SB 1421 into law. The law allows schools to stock and administer epinephrine for emergency use creating a safer environment for all school-aged children, especially those who may not yet know they are allergic. Arizona joins 16 other states that have either enacted laws regarding stocking epinephrine in schools or have pending legislation. Arizona schools can implement this new law this school year.
Among the advocates was Adrianna Aguirre, and her mother Karen Brown. Adrianna suffered a severe anaphylactic episode and had no immediate access to epinephrine. The incident left Adrianna in need of care from professional healthcare providers around the clock. Following the signing, Karen Brown said, "I have been sharing Adrianna's story in hope of raising awareness about the seriousness of anaphylaxis, today's signing of this bill into law is significant to our family and to all Arizona families who have school-age children."
Epinephrine is an important first-line of treatment for life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). Virginia passed a similar law this year after a first-grader died at school from an allergic reaction from a peanut. In other state's where similar laws have passed, lives have already been saved. Among them a boy who had an allergic reaction to a bee sting while on the school bus. The school health services coordinator grabbed the stocked epinephrine auto injector and darted to the boys aid after being alerted via radio. The school intervened long before the ambulance could arrive."We are so appreciative of the Governor and the Arizona Legislature who made a long-lasting, positive impact on the lives of Arizona's children," says Lisa Horne, president and founder of the Arizona Food Allergy Alliance. "This new law will help schools prepare for unexpected life-threatening reactions, which are becoming more common at schools and occurring in children who may not know they are allergic." Arizona's epinephrine law does the following:
- Provides a "Good Samaritan" provision offering legal protection to school personnel so that they can assist a child who is in danger of anaphylaxis: a severe allergic reaction that can result in injury and even death.
- Allows schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors while utilizing programs that will provide them at no cost to schools.
- Addresses training of school personnel on how to recognize an allergic reaction, as well as how to use the auto-injector.