The following is an editorial written by State Representative Tom Cochran (D-Mason). If you have questions about this commentary, please contact Rep. Cochran’s office by calling (517) 373-0587.
According to the Michigan Allergy and Asthma Society, an estimated eight percent of American children—15 million youngsters—suffer from food allergies, which is about one in every 13 children. In addition, an estimated three percent of the population suffers from a stinging insect allergy, which can be potentially fatal to a child. There are non-life-threatening allergic reactions like rashes, hives or swelling that can be relieved with antihistamines. However, epinephrine—a form of adrenaline from the adrenal gland—is the only chemical that can reverse the life threatening symptoms of severe allergic reactions, and protect vital organs. The drug epinephrine is available in an auto-injector delivery system, such as Auvi-Qs, and EpiPens and can reverse life-threatening allergic symptoms in as little as five seconds.
Last week, I voted in favor of House Bills 4352 and 4353, legislation that would allow physicians to prescribe and pharmacists to dispense auto-injectable epinephrine devices to school boards and limit their liability. It would also require that auto-injectable epinephrine devices be present at all public schools, including charter schools, and limit the liability of certain school employees when they in good faith administer an auto-injectable epinephrine device to an individual consistent with polices described in the bill. Twenty-seven other states have already enacted laws to require or allow schools to stock and administer unassigned anaphylaxis medications.
If you have questions about this or any other issue, please call me at (517) 373-0587 or e-mail me at TomCochran@house.mi.gov. I am here to help and my door is always open to you and your family.