Legislation aims at protecting children with food allergies

Legislation aims at protecting children with food allergies (Image 1)

Legislation being pushed in Tennessee would require all schools, private and public, to be equipped with epinephrine auto-injectors, or pens, to treat food allergies in children.

Mother Jenine Ward knows the importance of being prepared when a life threatening food allergy strikes.

“Conner is allergic to milks, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy, melon and cucumbers,” said Ward.

Her son, Conner, is five years old and was diagnosed with severe food allergies when he was an infant.

Two years ago, Ward was forced to use an epinephrine pen when Conner unknowingly ate Easter candy containing egg products.

“He vomited. He became faint. Within minutes he couldn't walk, he couldn't talk, he couldn't respond. He just laid on the floor,” said Ward.

When a child has a severe food allergy reaction, their blood pressure can drop, putting the child's life in danger.

Nearly 25% of school children who have reactions to food are not aware of their food allergies.

Illinois and Virginia have similar laws in place requiring schools to have epinephrine pens available.

Similar legislation failed in Tennessee last year.

The bill passed the House Education Committee on Tuesday.

The House Finance Committee will review the legislation next week.

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