(WWLP) – Every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room.
Parents are calling on state lawmakers to do more to prevent that in schools.
One bite of a chicken patty is all it took for Ben Reforsado to have an allergic reaction at school. He didn’t know he had a food allergy to the soy hidden inside.
“All my allergens are life-threatening,” Reforsado said. “It’s very scary ’cause maybe the next day you won’t be there; you may not.”
One in 13 children has a food allergy–the most common are nuts, wheat, milk, egg, soy and fish.
Parents, children, and advocates with Food Allergy Research & Education are calling on state lawmakers to support legislation that better prepares schools to respond to allergic reactions.
One bill would require schools to supply an emergency stock of epinephrine. Until a few years ago, epinephrine was only kept in the school nurses office.
“If you have a school that’s very big, you’d have epinephrine in one side of the school and a child who needed it on the other side of the school,” Food allergy lawyer Laurel Francoeur said.
Now, students with allergies are able to carry it where they are at risk, like the cafeteria and classroom.
Currently, only some schools voluntarily carry emergency supplies of epinephrine, but it’s not required by law.
Advocates told 22News this could help save lives, especially those that don’t know they have a food allergy.
“I’ve learned to carry my EpiPen with me as some nurses aren’t always there,” said Ella McNiece, a Scituate ninth-grader said. “Without the epinephrine there’s nothing you can do to possibly save someone’s life.”