Sunday’s New York Times had an OpEd piece about EpiPens and the need to make them available for every child in every school. Right now each child with known allergies has his or her personal EpiPen and the teachers are, in many places, prohibited from using one child’s EpiPen on a different child. The problem is that in many places there are no “bulk” EpiPens available for the child whose parents haven’t yet refilled the prescription, cannot afford to refill the prescription or who don’t yet know that the child even has life threatening allergies.
This to me is a no-brainer. EpiPens are not difficult to administer and although all medications have risks, I can assure you that not being able to breathe is a far greater and more immediate problem and that the other second graders are fully capable of diagnosing that “Timmy can’t breathe”. I have been there myself. There is no time to discuss the situation. There is no time for an ambulance to get there. You have one to two minutes.
I am especially sensitive to the need for EpiPens for those children who don’t know they have allergies as the way that I learned that my allergies could cause me to gasp for air was by being exposed to an allergen and then gasping for air. It would be great if I knew well in advance that my allergy had progressed to life threatening status before my life was actually threatened but in my case it did not work that way.
In a world where one child in 20 has a food allergy, EpiPens that are not earmarked for specific students can save lives. This is not a minor issue. Right now there is a bill in Congress that has already been passed by the house. It is waiting in the Senate. It only has a 24% chance of being passed, but by protesting and letting our senators know how we feel, we can push it through.
To get information on the bill HR 2094 you can go here
If you would like to read the New York Times OpEd piece you can do so here
I urge anyone who has a child or a friend with life threatening allergies to take action on this bill. I know that there are many issues crying for attention on the national stage, but this one seems like a non-partisan no brainer. I am pretty sure both parties are all for keeping little kids alive.
We know how to save a life…lets do it!