ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is calling attention to a Maryland bill just signed into law. Maryland public schools will now have emergency doses of potentially life-saving Epinephrine on hand for children with food allergies.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on what this means for families.

Safety first. Four-year-old Hugh Ward has something in common with one in 13 children in the country, according to the Journal of Pediatrics– food allergies. They come on suddenly and 16 percent to 18 percent of those children have had a reaction in school.

“I’m allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, grapes and raw corn,” 8-year-old Rolando Rivera said.

The General Assembly has helped ease the minds of parents of school-age children by requiring Maryland public schools to keep emergency supplies of Epinephrine– the drug that counters allergic reactions– on hand.

“It protects the kids who will have their first reaction at school,” Shana Ward, a parent, said. “It’s great for the kids that are already diagnosed but it’s also really helpful for those kids as well.”

In addition to her son Hugh Ward, Shana Ward has a 6-year-old in kindergarten who also has food allergies.

“You want everyone to be prepared and be ready if there were to be a reaction,” she said.

Shana Ward co-founded a support group for families with allergies.

“Who can argue with wanting to protect kids and making sure that they’re safe, that all of the kids are safe at school? I mean, who could argue with that?” she said.

The added awareness of the preparation for food allergy reactions in public schools may have the added benefit of encouraging other child care facilities to put emergency supplies in place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an 18 percent increase of school-age children with food allergies in the 10 years between 1997 and 2007.


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