Governor honors food allergy awareness

Forsyth one of two counties in Georgia to provide epinephrine in all schools

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. —Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta joined Gov. Nathan Deal as he signed a proclamation announcing May 12 – 18 as Food Allergy Awareness Week in Georgia.

FAKA and members of the community joined Deal May 21 during the FA Kids 2013 event.

Karen Harris, president of FAKA, said her main goal with the week is to encourage Georgians to know more about anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that is sudden and can be deadly, and to understand the value of food allergy management.

“Schools are an important partner to us. In Forsyth County, stock epinephrine has already been used to treat students who have shown symptoms of anaphylactic shock,” said Harris. “We urge all Georgia school districts to provide training to educators and implement stock epinephrine in all of their schools.”

Georgia CPR partnered with FAKA to expand education and outreach efforts to help support Georgia schools with emergency procedures in treating anaphylaxis and in helping with the management of students with food allergies.

Harris, and medical advisor Dr. Luqman Seidu, trained CPR instructors during recent in-service anaphylaxis training.

Forsyth and Fannin County schools are the only counties in Georgia that have implemented stock epinephrine in all of the schools. Forsyth also trains educators to comprehend basic food allergy facts, avoid food allergens, recognize a reaction and enact emergency protocol.

Forsyth Schools health services facilitator Connie Trent is thankful for the stock of epinephrine and realizes how often it is needed.

“Forsyth County Schools uses epinephrine three to four times each school year in response to an anaphylactic reaction,” said Trent. “The fact that the epinephrine is in the school and can be used immediately saves lives — minutes count.”

Georgia is one of about 30 states to enact statewide legislation to allow schools to stock epinephrine.

In addition to helping those whose epinephrine auto-injector isn’t immediately accessible during a reaction, this legislation helps to save the lives of those who experience an anaphylactic reaction and do not have a prescribed epinephrine auto-injector, or EpiPen.

Last year, Diallo Robbins Brinson, 15, from Bibb County died of an allergic reaction to macadamia nuts. Another customer in the restaurant Brinson was at had an EpiPen, but it was for a small child and not enough to keep him alive.

This incident brought to the forefront a need for EpiPens.

Eligible Georgia schools can now qualify to receive free EpiPens for schools. All schools are eligible for an additional set for the next school year if implemented by the fall.