SB 126, Signed Today by Gov. Deal, Makes it Possible for Georgians with Food Allergies to Access Emergency Treatment
The legislation, SB 126, allows entities to obtain epinephrine auto-injectors (prescribed by a physician) for emergency use, and authorizes trained employees to administer epinephrine to anyone suffering from anaphylaxis. It was signed today by Gov. Deal.
“As someone who lives with food allergies and operates a restaurant, I know this law will save lives in Georgia,” said Karen Harris, Founder of Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta and Vice President of Restaurant and Food Industry Services for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team. “The bill protects Georgians with undiagnosed allergies by providing access to epinephrine in places where they might encounter allergens for the first time. It also protects those with diagnosed allergies who might not have epinephrine with them at all times. I hope owners of restaurants, theme parks, hotels and other businesses will take notice and obtain epinephrine auto-injectors for emergency use.”
Anaphylaxis can happen at any time and can be caused by food, medications, insect venom, latex, and other allergens. Early use of epinephrine improves a person’s chance for survival. Symptoms may initially be mild, such as itching or rash, but can then turn serious very quickly, causing shortness of breath, shock or even death.
In addition to offering better protection to those who currently suffer from life-threatening allergies, or to those who may experience anaphylaxis for the first time, the new law will also provide civil liability protection for pharmacists who fill the medication, health care providers who write the prescriptions, and others who maintain and administer this emergency treatment, in accordance with the law.
Georgia was one of the first states to enact statewide legislation allowing schools to stock epinephrine. Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta has worked with legislators to improve GA’s stock epinephrine law (HB 337), assisted school districts in Georgia with staff training and stock epinephrine implementation, and supports organizations working on similar legislation in other states.
Food allergies are on the rise and there is no cure. A CDC report released in May 2013 estimates that “between 1997 and 1999, food allergies affected about 3.4 percent of American children. By 2009 to 2011, that number rose to 5.1 percent – an increase of 50 percent in just over a decade."
About Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta
Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta helps to create a safer environment in Georgia communities for food allergic individuals. The organization provides services statewide and offers free membership, support group meetings, school & restaurant trainings, allergy friendly events and more. For more information, visit Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta website, Facebook page, email or call 404-512-7983.
Food allergic individuals seeking support in Atlanta and Georgia, visit: www.fakidsatl.org
National support, visit: www.foodallergyawareness.org
National support, visit: www.kidswithfoodallergies.org