Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood who has been very active in raising awareness about Epipens and Anaphylaxis in a bid to increase the availability of Epipens, has outlined what exactly he would like to see happening.
Councillor Flood, supported by Caroline Sloan, whose 14 year old daughter Emma died after being denied an Epipen, has made a submission to Minister Leo Varadkar as part of a consultation process, promised after the collecting of over 115,000 signatures.
The Campaign ‘Emma’s Voice’, headed by Caroline Sloan moved the Minister to commit to big changes in the next six months which includes educating and providing more information on EpiPens and making them more freely available with people trained in how to use them. The Minister also spoke about grouping this training with training on other injectables such as diabetes medications etc.
Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. It may start suddenly within seconds or minutes, or take a few hours to develop following contact with an allergen which is a substance that is capable of producing an allergic reaction. A severe anaphylactic reaction is sometimes known as anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis can cause the blood pressure to drop quickly, resulting in fainting or even sustained loss of consciousness. It can also cause severe breathing difficulties.
Speaking today, Councillor Flood said “we are not looking for anything revolutionary here, just basic common sense and safety for anyone who suffers from allergies. Gerry Adams TD and Matt Carthy MEP are both working hard on this issue also so we expect to see changes for the better and hopefully not have to see another child die because of the absence of a simple Epipen.”
The submission made by Cllr Flood made the following recommendations:
1) The Food Safety Authority add allergy information to all training courses and include training on the use of (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors in all courses.
2) How to recognize and treat Anaphylaxis attacks and The use of (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors be included in all Occupational First Aid FETAC/QQI level 5 certification and above courses.
3) Introduce legislation, that allows (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors to be stored in schools and other public places in the event of an emergency. Making them mandatory in restaurants and other places where the public consume food or congregate in large numbers. Similar to defibrillators.
4) To run a rolling public awareness campaign, including internet, tv and print adverts to highlight all aspects of recognizing and treating Anaphylaxis.
5) On diagnosis of Anaphylaxis have all allergy sufferers supplied with allergy unique ID cards/Bracelets.
6) To develop a phone app that can help you keep track of which allergens you and your family need to avoid, where (epinephrine) Auto Injectors are located and when they expire, emergency contact information, etc.
7) To ensure allergy testing is available in every primary care unit in Ireland.