Florida passed a ground-breaking stock epinephrine legislation in June 2014. The Emergency Allergy Treatment Act (HB 1131) allows various public venues to stock epinephrine auto-injectors, in an effort to better protect those at risk for anaphylaxis.
“People who know they are allergic to various types of stings, they’re usually pretty good about having an auto-injector,” Representative Matt Hudson, who introduced the bill, told Allergic Living. “But in the case of food allergies, sometimes you just flat out don’t know.” In such instances, having a generic epinephrine auto-injector available could prove a lifesaver.
The bill, signed into law by Governor Rick Scott, amends previous legislation to allow several public “entities” to be prescribed epinephrine auto-injectors to be kept on hand in case of anaphylaxis. Theme parks, including Walt Disney World, count as an “authorized entity,” and could begin stocking auto-injectors in the future.
Other authorized entities include restaurants, sports arenas and more – the legislation states that an authorized entity is virtually anywhere where it’s possible people will come into contact with allergens.
The legislation allows these stock devices to be administered by trained personnel, or non-trained personnel in an emergency with authorization from a medical practitioner. Many anaphylactic reactions occur in people with no history of severe allergies, and prompt administration of epinephrine is critical to reduce the chance of a severe or even fatal reaction.
Hudson says the bill did not face much resistance, but there was some lack of understanding about food allergies to counter. “It became a good opportunity to talk about the idea, and frankly bring awareness to the issue,” says Hudson, who urges residents of other states to ask their legislators to put forward similar epinephrine measures.
Florida had already passed similar stock epinephrine legislation for its schools. Now, with HB 1131, other public venues have the opportunity to be prepared for anaphylaxis.
“When the moment happens – you hope it never happens – but you sure want to be ready for it,” said Hudson.