Help Save Allergic Children’s Lives in Schools

Food and nut allergies are killing our kids

[skhighlight color=”yellow”] Please sign the Pass the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act Petition. [/skhighlight]

When I was growing up, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Every. Day. So did pretty much everyone else who carried their lunch to school. No one that I knew had a peanut allergy back then.  But things have changed… MANY children are now suffering from severe allergies to not only peanuts, but tree nuts as well.

Our 3 girls don’t have this kind of allergy, but my heart goes out to the kids and families who struggle every day to stay away from the foods that could quickly send them into anaphylaxis. This is a serious, life threatening reaction that can rapidly close the airways of a child, causing death.

That’s why it’s so important to be certain that life saving Epi-pens can be made available at school to all children in the case of an allergic reaction.  

Too often, we are reading about lives being lost that could have been saved if an Epi-pen had been nearby and available. My heart goes out to the family of this first-grader, who’s death prompted an alert reminding schools not to use ‘food rewards’. The school did not have medication on hand to help this child.

YOU can help save allergic children’s lives in schools.

[skhighlight color=”yellow”] Please sign [/skhighlight] the Pass the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act Petition today. The cost to schools is just over $100.00 to make epinephrine available to prevent an unnecessary death of a child.

My friend Keeley McGuire, who shares lunches, crafts, and recipe tips on her blog,  is the mom of a little girl who suffers from a severe peanut allergy. When I posted a couple of weeks ago about the petition, a lively conversation ensued on my Facebook wall. Keeley posted a lot that day, but I have excerpted some of her responses here for more info and understanding of this vital issue. I hope her words will encourage you to sign the petition:

Keeley’s Words:

“Ammaria Johnson, 7 years old, died on Jan 5th after being given something with a peanut during recess from another student. She had an emergency action plan but apparently the school told the mother they didn’t want her epi-pen on site. When she had the reaction, they called the mother first,  THEN 911, and did not give her benadryl immediately as also stated in her emergency action plan. Had the school been trained and had an epi-pen on site, Ammaria could still be alive. But she’s not. My daughter is six. This brings me to tears thinking about this girl. This mother. And also her fellow student that gave her the food, now having to live with the fact that she gave something to her friend that killed her. Sorry to go on and on… its a personal topic that hits close to home. I know it does for others too. Little Miss breaks out in a rash just from touching a peanut item or if i were to eat it and kiss her. Injestion is deadly. You can read more about little Ammaria’s story HERE.

…I am fortunate my daughter IS able to carry her epi-pen with her at all times (it doesn’t have to stay in the office) but that came with special release forms and paperwork to do so. It still worries me though, if she’s having a reaction and not able to communicate that she needs it… what will happen? Will they help her in time? What if it’s a substitute? So many ‘what ifs’ always go through my mind… it’s terrifying. School staff should absolutely be trained in first aid and how to use epi-pens. This petition goes beyond that though. It’s for schools to have them on hand. To save lives. What if a small child tries something for the first time they’ve never eaten before while at school only to have a life threatening allergic reaction? Calling 911 may not be fast enough to save their life or prevent severe brain damage after the brain begins to lose oxygen. The thing about Epinephrine is that it won’t hurt a child if given an epi-pen and lets say they were only having a mild allergic reaction but the school acted to be safe. 911 is always called after an injection so they can make sure the student/ child is okay. It’s a no-brainer in my opinion that this Act should be passed immediately. Please everyone, I urge you to please sign and contact your state representatives. It can save lives. Epi-pens are a child’s lifeline until the ambulance arrives.”

Keeley McGuire and her daughter

It’s hard when people don’t get it

“…its amazing to me how many “eye rolls” we get… I’m constantly re-educating my daughter to make sure she knows how to use her epi, understands her allergy, and symptoms of an allergic reaction. Recently, the kids in her class (she told me) were giving her grief telling her it was ok if she ate a peanut. That she wouldn’t die. She came home and told me. It’s hard having such an “adult conversation” with her, explaining to her she CAN die. It helps when I show her videos and pictures, as much as I hate it. She usually ends up in tears and scared, but that’s when I remind her that’s why we are so careful. That’s why Mama packs her lunches, why we don’t eat class treats, don’t eat bakery goods, go to ice cream shops, etc etc etc. But its something I have to do to remind her of the severity, so when kids do say things like that, she’s not tempted into peer pressure to try something she shouldn’t.

My mother actually works in a doctor’s office and one of the doctors has a peanut allergy himself. He never eats goodies brought in by staff because of it. One of the ladies ASSURED him she made a special treat with no peanuts, brought him the labels, etc. so he ate it. Had a reaction and had to go to the hospital. Why? Because she had also made a peanut butter dessert and cross-contaminated his dessert, which she had tried so hard to make just for him. Just proves how scary it can be.”

[skhighlight color=”yellow”] Please sign [/skhighlight] the Pass the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act Petition today and save the lives of our children.

In honor of  these lost children, please also share this post with your community so that together, we can pass this act.

Thank you!