Restrictions Eased for Students with Allergies

Oklahoma City_Press Release from the office of State Rep. Colby Schwartz:

Legislation to allow young adults and children to carry life-saving emergency medication in school passed a House committee today.

House Bill 2239, by state Reps. Colby Schwartz and Jeannie McDaniel, allows students to carry anaphylaxis medication, including Epinephrine, while at school in case of a deadly allergic reaction.

"This measure could possibly save students' lives. When a child eats something unaware that it contains an ingredient they are allergic too, the reaction is immediate, leaving that child gasping for breathe," said Schwartz, R-Yukon. "If the closest emergency medicine is locked in the school nurse's cabinet, that child may have already suffered severe health problems or even death before being administered life-saving drugs. They need to have the medicine on their person."

"Although the current restrictions are well-meaning, 40 other states have passed legislation protecting the rights of children to carry and self administer Epinephrine auto-injectors. They too recognize this can save a child's life," said McDaniel, D-Tulsa. "We need to use common sense. These medications are clearly necessary for children with severe allergies and must be readily available to them."

According to statistics, from 1997 to 2002 there was a 100-percent increase in peanut allergies. Currently, 3 percent to 6 percent of children have a serious food allergy-about one out of 100.

House Bill 2239 unanimously passed the House Health Committee this week.