It is rare that a legislator supports something that has already proven to be in the “life-saving” category, but that is precisely why State Representative Terry Johnson received the Distinguished Legislator award from Food Allergy and Education (FARE) for his work on House Bill 296 in the 130th General Assembly.
The law, which permissively allows a school or school district to stock non-patient specific doses of epinephrine on the school grounds, making it available to anyone experiencing a severe allergic reaction. Epinephrine is used in emergencies to treat very serious allergic reactions to insect stings/bites, foods, drugs, or other substances. Epinephrine acts quickly to improve breathing, stimulate the heart, raise a dropping blood pressure, reverse hives, and reduce swelling of the face, lips, and throat.
Johnson said the law has already proven its worth. Two children in the Akron area suffered from life-threatening allergic reactions this past school year. Both of the children were saved by a staff member who had medical training and was able to use the in stock epinephrine at the school.
The legislation allows, but does not require, a school district to adopt a protocol to maintain a stock of epinephrine and allow properly trained personnel to administer the emergency epinephrine to a student, staff member or visitors.
“This award comes as a complete surprise, and I appreciate this recognition, but knowing that something I worked on has already saved a youngster’s life—well, that’s really what counts,” Johnson said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.