Arlington, VA —The number of U.S. children with food allergies rose about 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. Nearly 6 million children, or 8 percent, have allergies, and young children are most affected. Eighteen percent of these children have experienced an allergic reaction while at school, and these reactions are sometimes fatal. It is crucial that policymakers understand what policies are needed to ensure that children are safe from life-threatening food allergies while at school. The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) has released four Anaphylaxis Policy Handbooks to review anaphylaxis and epinephrine policies in select states.

The Anaphylaxis Policy Handbooks, which were designed for Connecticut, North Carolina, New York and Oregon, identify components of a comprehensive policy, lay out existing state policies, provide resources within states and best practices in model states, and set a framework for policy discussion and implementation that can help improve state policies. This project was sponsored by Mylan Specialty L.P.

“Students and their parents need to feel secure that schools are safe places to learn and grow,” said NASBE Executive Director Kristen Amundson. “Given that 25 percent of students suffering reactions at school have not yet been diagnosed with allergies, it is critical that states put in place the best possible policies and guidance to mitigate students’ exposure to known allergens. The handbooks will not only help these four states determine whether their policies can be improved, they can help other states understand where the gaps are regarding the use and storage of epinephrine, especially.”

“Over the past few years, state and school policies regarding anaphylaxis management and epinephrine access have changed dramatically. Today, 46 states allow or require schools to stock undesignated epinephrine so it is available should someone experience anaphylaxis in the school setting,” said Roger D. Graham, Jr., president, Mylan Specialty. “Mylan Specialty is pleased to support NASBE’s development of the Anaphylaxis Policy Handbooks, and we hope that these resources are helpful to states that are working to implement these important policies at the local level.”

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The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. NASBE exists to strengthen state boards as the preeminent educational policymaking bodies for citizens and students. For more, visit www.nasbe.org.

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Sharon Cannon

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