Illinois’ two senators are pushing legislation that would let schools have access to life saving medication for children with food and other allergies. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) say their School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act will encourage states across the nation to improve school access to epinephrine auto-injectors, like the EpiPen, to be used if students have life threatening systemic allergic reactions.
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“Something as seemingly harmless as a bee sting during recess or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich during lunch can quickly become a tragedy,” Kirk said. “This bill encourages schools throughout the nation to prevent allergy-related deaths by allowing trained, qualified staff to offer an injection of epinephrine to a student suffering from a severe allergic reaction.” The legislation would reward states that require schools to keep EpiPen’s on hand with preference for asthma-related grants. The legislation also has a provision that requires states to have a “Good Samaritan” law to protect school employees who administer the medication. Earlier this year Illinois passed a law that allows school nurses to administer EpiPen shots. Durbin and Kirk’s legislation goes further by allowing trained teachers or school staff to administer the shot as well. The legislation is expected to be introduced sometime this week.