Something any of us might do is share with family, friends, and co-workers the life-saving reasons for stocking undesignated* epinephrine in public event areas:
- Because eating away from home significantly increases the risk of reactions for those with food allergy.
- Because an individual’s first allergic reaction can be severe.
- Because the only medicine that can treat anaphylaxis is epinephrine.
Sharing this may lead to more states passing legislation that permits public venues (e.g., day camps, theme parks, restaurants, sports arenas, daycare centers, college campuses) to store and administer epinephrine for anyone demonstrating symptoms of anaphylaxis.
States With Stock Epinephrine Laws
Currently, 26 states have passed laws that allow, but do not require, the stocking of epinephrine in public event areas: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
If living in one of these states you can look up the specifics of your state’s legislation (link below), arm yourself with a few salient talking points (link below), and negotiate with your favorite public business to acquire stock epinephrine, if they haven’t already.
Obtain and Train
What constitutes a public venue or “entity” varies from state to state, but each must obtain epinephrine auto-injectors (EAIs) with a prescription written by a medical professional. There are a variety of approaches suggested for this and again, they vary by state.
Under the stock epinephrine laws, any public event staff person who has been taught to administer epinephrine, according to their state’s EAI training protocols, can do so. The laws protect trained personnel from liability when giving epinephrine in good faith to someone the staff believes is having an allergic reaction.
Need For Advocacy
Still, many public businesses may be unaware of the need for stock epinephrine, the law allowing it, and the protection the law affords. It will likely take the advocacy of those with a stake in food allergy safety to make this legislative opportunity a reality by having conversations with public business owners or managers.
Even if not immediately successful, we will have spread food allergy awareness and planted a seed of action that may someday take hold.
*Undesignated means it can be used for anyone in need; it’s not prescribed for a specific individual.