The Case for "Teacher Training" in NYS Public Schools

One in 13 children have food allergies; that equals two kids at risk for anaphylaxis in every classroom across America. The data from the Center for Disease and Control shows that twenty-five to 30% of anaphylactic reactions occur at school without a prior diagnosis. That is why the Allergy Advocacy Association, building on the success of our past legislative efforts, is working to find new ways to promote “Teacher Training” for the administration of life-saving epinephrine in NYS Public Schools.

The Case for "Teacher Training" in NYS Public Schools

New York State Capitol with Flags and Reflecting Pool, Albany NY

By Jon Terry
18 March 2021

Greetings. Concerning life-threatening allergies and anaphylaxis, just how safe are kids in New York State public schools? What laws are currently in place to protect kids from anaphylaxis emergencies? Are there loopholes, gaps or errors in childcare at our schools that need to be corrected? While discussing these questions in this article the Allergy Advocacy Association provides context.

For the past ten years legislation requiring anaphylaxis emergency training for newly certified teachers has been an important objective for our association. This year Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal along with activist advocates have re-introduced the "Teacher Training" bill (A523 and S587), an act to amend the education law, in relation to requiring newly certified teachers to receive instruction in the use of an epinephrine auto-injector. Why is this law so important?

Stacey Saiontz is the mother of food allergic child and an activist advocate here in NY. "Children spend most of their waking hours at school in the care of their teachers," says Ms.

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Just Half of Epinephrine Auto-Injector Prescriptions are Filled After Pediatric Emergency Discharge

We know that a life-threatening allergic reaction can be fatal. We also know that when anaphylaxis strikes an epinephrine auto-injector can save a person’s life. So why after a pediatric emergency discharge were only half of the prescriptions for an epinephrine auto-injector filled by patients? A new study examines this important issue.

Just Half of Epinephrine Auto-Injector Prescriptions are Filled After Pediatric Emergency Discharge

Image of Emergency sign plus image of Injector packet

By Dave Bloom
2021/03/09

A child develops anaphylaxis and is rushed to the emergency room. At the time the child is stabilized and released, a physician writes a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) which a staffer eventually hands to the accompanying adult, sending them on their way. But how many of those prescriptions are actually filled and by whom?

A recent study published in Allergy and Asthma Proceedings aimed at measuring those fill rates while looking for racial and socioeconomic disparities.

The retrospective observational cohort study looked at records from patients discharged from a pediatric emergency department who received an outpatient prescription for an EAI between January 1, 2018, and October 31, 2019. The rates of filled prescriptions were calculated, and multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify sociodemographic factors associated with the process.

Of 717 patients included in the analysis, some 54.8% ultimately filled their prescription. The study found no significant associations between fill rates and patient age or sex, but in a bivariable analysis, non-Hispanic white patients were almost twice as likely to fill their prescriptions compared as

non-Hispanic black patients and patients with in-state Medicaid were significantly less likely to fill compared with those patients with private insurance. After applying multivariable adjustments, however, the researchers found no significant difference in filling by age, insurance status, race, or ethnicity.

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Epinephrine Not Being Used Often Enough for Anaphylaxis in Children

We know any attack of anaphylaxis can might fatal. We also know that promptly administering epinephrine saves lives. A recent study found over 20% of correctly diagnosed anaphylaxis incidents in children weren’t treated with epinephrine. Why? Dr Wes Sublett, Research Director of the Family Allergy & Asthma Research Institute, provides some of the answers in the article below.

Epinephrine Not Being Used Often Enough for Anaphylaxis in Children

Rosie-the-Riviter holding AuviQ-ChildDose package

By Dave Bloom
2021/02/02

We know that prompt administration of epinephrine as soon as anaphylaxis is suspected leads to better outcomes, but are we using it often enough when our kids react? (Hint: No, we’re not.)

“Predictors for epinephrine undertreatment have been poorly studied,” write Neta Cohen, MD, of the division of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Toronto, and colleagues.

So Cohen and colleagues reviewed the charts of 368 children (median age, 5.4 years) who presented with anaphylaxis-like symptoms to a busy tertiary care facility emergency department (ED) in Toronto.

They determined that although 90.8% of the children were correctly diagnosed with anaphylaxis, nearly a quarter (23.7%) were not treated with epinephrine. Of those, 13 had full resolution of signs and symptoms during the ED presentation.

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Allergic Reactions in Restaurants Are Common, Yet Training Lags

If you or a loved one has a food allergy, you know that dining out can be very challenging. From the listing of possible allergens to details on food preparation, accurate information can be hard to come by. It can be frustrating and possibly lethal, even though restaurants are the second most common location for a food allergy reaction, with over a quarter of those reactions requiring epinephrine. While laws vary from state to state, there is no federal legislation requiring restaurants to inform customers about allergens or to mandate training of restaurant staff.

Allergic Reactions in Restaurants Are Common, Yet Training Lags

A woman and friend in a restaurant with food

By Jenifer Goodwin
January 17, 2021

Restaurants are the second most common location for food allergy reactions after the home, a new study finds, and more than one in four of those reactions are severe enough to require epinephrine.

Yet there remains no federal legislation requiring restaurants to inform customers about allergens in their food, or to train food preparers about food allergies and avoiding cross-contact. Although a few states have enacted their own regulations requiring food allergy safety training, these laws are not equally robust from state to state.

Allergist Dr. Thomas Casale, a co-author of the study, says the findings underscore the need to require food allergy training for staff, and for restaurants to disclose allergens on menus.

“There should be mandatory training for restaurant staff and people that prepare the food,” including education on the major allergens, communicating about food allergies, and avoiding cross-contact, says Casale, medical adviser for the non-profit FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).

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DC Legislation Update

This past year the Allergy Advocacy Association was active in promoting important legislation to help those impacted by life threatening allergies. Though 2020 was a challenging year, our association worked with others in the nonprofit community, including the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (aafa), Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), Allergy & Asthma Network (AAN), the Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) and End Allergies Together (EAT) to advocate for legislation and policies. Our efforts were a reminder that working together we are better able to serve those impacted by life threatening allergies.

Read all about epinephrine.

Sesame Label Warning Jan, 2021

Reported and edited by Jon Terry
January 14th, 2021

Greetings! Last March our association participated in a major advocacy event at the US capitol lobbying for passage of two bills. The result was enactment of H.R. 2468 and advancement of H.R. 2217 the "Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act of 2019." (In this issue of our e-newsletter, you'll find more information about H.R 2468 within our next article.)

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