Budget issues may top the list of headlines coming out of the State Capitol. However, a lot of Louisiana parents have their eyes fixed on a proposal that has nothing to do with money. It could help keep their kids alive though. Briggs Wood is one of them; he has a food allergy. His mom, Brook, remembers Briggs' first attack. "He started to have hives on his neck and he told me that he was having trouble breathing." Briggs was having an anaphylactic episode. Briggs is so allergic to peanuts, just being in the same room with them could leave him breathless.
As with any allergic reaction, even a bad asthma attack, Dr. Prem Menon says without quick action, "The child can die in minutes. That's preventable death, that's unnecessary."
If passed, the bill would require Louisiana schools keep epinephrine or epi-pens on hand. One or two shots and a child having a life-threatening breathing reaction is usually okay. School nurses would be authorized to administer the injections without legal liability.
Epi-pens at school means peace of mind for moms like Brook Wood. She says, "Having him out of my care and sending him off to school you just worry he could come into contact with traces of peanuts." Brook wishes all teachers and school employees could give kids an epi-pen shot if they need it, just in case a school nurse isn't available.
The epi-pen measure is set to come up for a final vote in the house next week.
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