Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stock Epinephrine Laws Save at Least 2 Lives So Far

By Kelley Lindberg

Two school students’ lives were saved this month because of the new law in Nevada allowing schools to keep stock EpiPens on hand. An 8th grader suffered their first allergic reaction during a cooking class, and a school nurse grabbed an EpiPen and administered it while others called 911. Then, two days later, a 9th grader suffered anaphylactic symptoms during lunch, and the school staff administered an EpiPen while 911 was called. (See "EpiPens Saving Lives on School Campuses.")

So far, 27 states have made it legal for schools to keep “stock” epinephrine auto-injectors on hand to use on students who don’t have their own prescriptions. A surprising number of the allergic reactions that happen at school are first-time reactions in students who didn’t previously have an allergy. (You can develop a food allergy at any age, often to foods you’ve eaten without any problems for years.) Since those kids obviously won’t have their own prescriptions, it’s essential for schools to have their own supply on hand.

On November 13, 2013, President Obama signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which encourages states to pass laws allowing schools to stock epinephrine and treat students who don’t have a prescription for it. The law enables states that pass such laws to be eligible for grants that will allow them to stock their schools with epinephrine auto-injectors. Fortunately, Utah is one of the 27 states that allow stock epinephrine in schools.

In addition, Mylan Specialty, the company that manufactures EpiPens, has a program called EpiPen4Schools that provides free EpiPens to schools to improve the access to epinephrine for students who have reactions while at school.

The following is the list of the 27 states that allow schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors as of October of last year (2013). Additional states may be considering similar legislation this year. If your state is on this list, call your local school to make sure they have EpiPens or other auto-injectors on hand. If they don’t, let them know about Mylan’s generous and life-saving EpiPen4Schools program.
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Allergy-Free Valentine’s Candy Roundup

By Kelley Lindberg

Although Halloween and Easter get all the attention, Valentine’s Day is another food-landmine holiday for people with food allergies. So I decided to look for some allergy-friendly candy for those unavoidable classroom parties. In addition to the usual Starbursts and Skittles, I found some happy discoveries. However, I didn’t find any nut-safe Conversation Hearts, except possibly for a tin of candy hearts at Target. But I couldn't see into the tin, so I don't know if they have words printed on them (see the photo to the right). Hopefully this list will help you have a sweet Valentine’s Day!

At Target, I found:

  • A small tin of candy hearts with a dog on the front saying “I Ruff You.” It contains dextrose and maltodextrin (although it doesn’t list corn specifically), and it has a milk and soy factory warning.
  • Lollipop bouquet (Galerie). It’s a bouquet of red heart-shaped lollipops. contains corn, but free from all other Big 8 allergens. I found the same candy at Smith’s, but with the Kroger brand instead of the Galerie brand on the packaging.
  • Jolly Rancher heart-shaped lollipops. Contains corn syrup but free from the Big 8.
  • Classroom Valentine Hearts with Candy. Dora the Explorer plastic heart-shaped boxes with hard candy inside them. Contains dried glucose syrup. Free from the Big 8.
  • Wonka Fun Dip Valentine Card Pouches. Contains dextrose and maltodextrin. Free from the Big 8.
  • Non-candy treats, like heart-shaped foam stickers, notepads, etc.

At Dollar Tree, I found:
  • Valentine’s pencils, erasers, etc.
  • A package of 10 plastic heart-shaped boxes with traditional “conversation” sayings on them that you can fill with your own candy (like Skittles, for example). Cute idea.
  • Gummy rings. Contains corn, but free from the Big 8.
  • Scooby-Doo bubble gum balls. Contains corn syrup, but free from the Big 8
  • Bobble-head hearts on a tube of hard candy. Contains corn syrup but free from the Big 8.
  • Cherry Jelly Hearts. Heart-shaped gumdrops. Contains corn syrup, but free from Big 8.
  • Marshmallow Rose. Super-cute. Contains corn syrup, but free from the Big 8.
  • Valentine Heart Lollipops. Contains corn syrup, but free from the Big 8.
  • Cupid’s Heart Candy. Contains corn syrup, but free from the Big 8.
  • Starlight Mints (Coastal Bay). Contains corn syrup, but free from the Big 8.
  • Cinnamon Hard Candy (Coastal Bay). Contains corn syrup, but free from the Big 8.
  • Disney Princess Lollipops. Contains corn syrup, but free from the Big 8.
  • Bob’s Sweet Stripes. Soft peppermint sticks. These are free from corn, as well as free from the Big 8. They just contain sugar, peppermint oil, Red 40 and Red 40 Lake. I also found these at Cracker Barrel.

At Smith’s I found:
  • Lollipop bouquet (Kroger brand). These look exactly like the lollipop bouquet at Target, just with Kroger branding. Contains corn, but free from all other Big 8 allergens.
  • Strawberry Swirl Pops (heart-shaped lollipops). Contains corn syrup, but free from the Big 8.