Senate considering emergency epinephrine bill for schools

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The U.S. Senate is considering an emergency bill introduced by Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

The bill, which is now in committee, seeks to match a successful bill in the U.S. House last month, providing incentives for states to pass epinephrine requirements for schools. The bill is currently in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and has several co-sponsors from both political parties in Washington.

The proposal gives preferential status to schools that stock epinephrine when applying for a federal grant for asthma funds. With statistics showing that one in four of those students who have an allergic reaction to food have not previously been diagnosed with a food allergy, making requirements for a prescription to administer epinephrine (the norm in most states) ineffective in 25 percent of cases.

Several states have passed or are considering bills that would exempt school employees from liability when using epinephrine injectors on students believed to be suffering a severe allergic reaction. Many of those states include requirements to stock the injectors with ready accessibility.

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