Articles for Advocacy

The Case for "Teacher Training" in NYS Public Schools

One in 13 children have food allergies; that equals two kids at risk for anaphylaxis in every classroom across America. The data from the Center for Disease and Control shows that twenty-five to 30% of anaphylactic reactions occur at school without a prior diagnosis. That is why the Allergy Advocacy Association, building on the success of our past legislative efforts, is working to find new ways to promote “Teacher Training” for the administration of life-saving epinephrine in NYS Public Schools.

The Case for "Teacher Training" in NYS Public Schools

New York State Capitol with Flags and Reflecting Pool, Albany NY

By Jon Terry
18 March 2021

Greetings. Concerning life-threatening allergies and anaphylaxis, just how safe are kids in New York State public schools? What laws are currently in place to protect kids from anaphylaxis emergencies? Are there loopholes, gaps or errors in childcare at our schools that need to be corrected? While discussing these questions in this article the Allergy Advocacy Association provides context.

For the past ten years legislation requiring anaphylaxis emergency training for newly certified teachers has been an important objective for our association. This year Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal along with activist advocates have re-introduced the "Teacher Training" bill (A523 and S587), an act to amend the education law, in relation to requiring newly certified teachers to receive instruction in the use of an epinephrine auto-injector. Why is this law so important?

Stacey Saiontz is the mother of food allergic child and an activist advocate here in NY. "Children spend most of their waking hours at school in the care of their teachers," says Ms.

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Just Half of Epinephrine Auto-Injector Prescriptions are Filled After Pediatric Emergency Discharge

We know that a life-threatening allergic reaction can be fatal. We also know that when anaphylaxis strikes an epinephrine auto-injector can save a person’s life. So why after a pediatric emergency discharge were only half of the prescriptions for an epinephrine auto-injector filled by patients? A new study examines this important issue.

Just Half of Epinephrine Auto-Injector Prescriptions are Filled After Pediatric Emergency Discharge

Image of Emergency sign plus image of Injector packet

By Dave Bloom

A child develops anaphylaxis and is rushed to the emergency room. At the time the child is stabilized and released, a physician writes a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) which a staffer eventually hands to the accompanying adult, sending them on their way. But how many of those prescriptions are actually filled and by whom?

A recent study published in Allergy and Asthma Proceedings aimed at measuring those fill rates while looking for racial and socioeconomic disparities.

The retrospective observational cohort study looked at records from patients discharged from a pediatric emergency department who received an outpatient prescription for an EAI between January 1, 2018, and October 31, 2019. The rates of filled prescriptions were calculated, and multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify sociodemographic factors associated with the process.

Of 717 patients included in the analysis, some 54.8% ultimately filled their prescription. The study found no significant associations between fill rates and patient age or sex, but in a bivariable analysis, non-Hispanic white patients were almost twice as likely to fill their prescriptions compared as

non-Hispanic black patients and patients with in-state Medicaid were significantly less likely to fill compared with those patients with private insurance. After applying multivariable adjustments, however, the researchers found no significant difference in filling by age, insurance status, race, or ethnicity.

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Epinephrine Not Being Used Often Enough for Anaphylaxis in Children

We know any attack of anaphylaxis can might fatal. We also know that promptly administering epinephrine saves lives. A recent study found over 20% of correctly diagnosed anaphylaxis incidents in children weren’t treated with epinephrine. Why? Dr Wes Sublett, Research Director of the Family Allergy & Asthma Research Institute, provides some of the answers in the article below.

Epinephrine Not Being Used Often Enough for Anaphylaxis in Children

Rosie-the-Riviter holding AuviQ-ChildDose package

By Dave Bloom

We know that prompt administration of epinephrine as soon as anaphylaxis is suspected leads to better outcomes, but are we using it often enough when our kids react? (Hint: No, we’re not.)

“Predictors for epinephrine undertreatment have been poorly studied,” write Neta Cohen, MD, of the division of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Toronto, and colleagues.

So Cohen and colleagues reviewed the charts of 368 children (median age, 5.4 years) who presented with anaphylaxis-like symptoms to a busy tertiary care facility emergency department (ED) in Toronto.

They determined that although 90.8% of the children were correctly diagnosed with anaphylaxis, nearly a quarter (23.7%) were not treated with epinephrine. Of those, 13 had full resolution of signs and symptoms during the ED presentation.

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Allergic Reactions in Restaurants Are Common, Yet Training Lags

If you or a loved one has a food allergy, you know that dining out can be very challenging. From the listing of possible allergens to details on food preparation, accurate information can be hard to come by. It can be frustrating and possibly lethal, even though restaurants are the second most common location for a food allergy reaction, with over a quarter of those reactions requiring epinephrine. While laws vary from state to state, there is no federal legislation requiring restaurants to inform customers about allergens or to mandate training of restaurant staff.

Allergic Reactions in Restaurants Are Common, Yet Training Lags

A woman and friend in a restaurant with food

By Jenifer Goodwin
January 17, 2021

Restaurants are the second most common location for food allergy reactions after the home, a new study finds, and more than one in four of those reactions are severe enough to require epinephrine.

Yet there remains no federal legislation requiring restaurants to inform customers about allergens in their food, or to train food preparers about food allergies and avoiding cross-contact. Although a few states have enacted their own regulations requiring food allergy safety training, these laws are not equally robust from state to state.

Allergist Dr. Thomas Casale, a co-author of the study, says the findings underscore the need to require food allergy training for staff, and for restaurants to disclose allergens on menus.

“There should be mandatory training for restaurant staff and people that prepare the food,” including education on the major allergens, communicating about food allergies, and avoiding cross-contact, says Casale, medical adviser for the non-profit FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).

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DC Legislation Update

This past year the Allergy Advocacy Association was active in promoting important legislation to help those impacted by life threatening allergies. Though 2020 was a challenging year, our association worked with others in the nonprofit community, including the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (aafa), Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), Allergy & Asthma Network (AAN), the Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) and End Allergies Together (EAT) to advocate for legislation and policies. Our efforts were a reminder that working together we are better able to serve those impacted by life threatening allergies.

Read all about epinephrine.

Sesame Label Warning Jan, 2021

Reported and edited by Jon Terry
January 14th, 2021

Greetings! Last March our association participated in a major advocacy event at the US capitol lobbying for passage of two bills. The result was enactment of H.R. 2468 and advancement of H.R. 2217 the "Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act of 2019." (In this issue of our e-newsletter, you'll find more information about H.R 2468 within our next article.)

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H.R. 2468 the School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act Becomes Law

New Federal Law Helps Schools Prevent Asthma and Anaphylaxis Emergencies

A new federal law now provides grant preferences to states that take proactive steps in helping the millions of school age children impacted by allergies and asthma. In Spring 2020, the Allergy Advocacy Association lobbied lawmakers to pass the School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act. This new law may provide an opportunity to expand our educational/training, through our The Epi Near You NY program.

You can read all the questions and answers about epinephrine.

FARE Contingent, Washington D.C., Mar, 2020

H.R. 2468 the School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act Becomes Law

By Patrick Morris
January 12th, 2020

This January the bi-partisan School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act H.R. 2468 was signed into law. This law will provide assistance to millions of school children dealing with allergies and asthma. It does so by providing preferences for grants, under the children's asthma treatment program, to states that require schools to establish allergy and asthma management programs.

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US Senate Passes FASTER Act, Brings Mandatory Sesame Labeling One Step Closer

Concerning successful advocacy during 2020 in Washington DC, congratulations to everyone who helped pass the The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act of 2020 thru the United States Congress. Next step: The house and the senate will meet to reconcile their bills. After that the bill heads for the White House for the President's signature and enactment of the legislation. Everybody please keep your prayers and positive thoughts focused upon Capitol Hill.

US Senate Passes FASTER Act, Brings Mandatory Sesame Labeling One Step Closer

FARE Activists in front of U.S. Capitol Mar 2020

S 3451 will add sesame as the ninth major allergen and prioritize food allergy research; bill now heads to the House for consideration

By News Wire ~ 3rd Party Press Release
December 10th, 2020

Today, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest private funder of food allergy research, announces the quick action and unanimous passage of The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act of 2020, S. 3451 by the U.S. Senate. Since the bill’s Senate introduction on March 12, FARE has worked extremely closely with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as co-sponsors Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) to move this legislation forward.

“More than 1.5 million Americans are allergic to sesame, and they and their family members live in constant fear and anxiety that sesame may be hiding in the food products they buy,” said Lisa Gable, chief executive officer of FARE. “With today’s Senate passage, ushered forward by the incredible leadership of Senator Tim Scott and Senator Chris Murphy, a critical new law that will improve the lives of those with food allergies is one step closer to becoming a reality.”

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Study: Anaphylaxis Spikes During Halloween and Easter

Study: Anaphylaxis Spikes During Halloween and Easter

Dave Bloom at regularly provides timely information to families with life-threatening food allergies.

Pumpkin with Easter Bunny Carving

By Dave Bloom
October 1st, 2020

A study published on September 21st, 2020 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal determined that anaphylaxis in children spikes during Halloween and Easter and that for tree nuts, most cases occurred in children that were previously undiagnosed.

Co-authors Dr. Melanie Leung and Dr. Moshe Ben-Shoshan provided the rationale for conducting the study:

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The Allergy Mom® Melissa Scheichl Provides Education and Support

Author, educational presenter, clinical social worker, psychotherapist and advocate are just a few of the many roles that Melissa Scheichl occupies. All these roles came about from being the mother of children with severe allergies. Her journey of learning and experiencing the impact of life threating allergies on her children propelled her to create, in 2010, the website and associated blog at Since then Melissa has helped provide support and a forum for families to share their experiences as well as finding ways to educate the public about life threatening allergies.

The Allergy Mom® Melissa Scheichl Provides Education and Support

Melissa Scheichl

By Kristen Stewart
September 9th, 2020

Growing up Melissa Scheichl (aka The Allergy Mom®) of the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada, had both seasonal and food allergies and her mother suffered a dangerous anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting. As challenging and scary as these experiences were, however, allergies did not become a major focus of her life until her children were born almost 16 and 14 years ago.

“As a mom, nothing is more important than the health and well-being of your children,” she said. “My son Andrew's severe allergies to dust, dog dander and environmental allergies educated me on how to make our home and lives safer when dealing with environmental allergies. I learned about eczema, indoor air quality measures and how to alleviate seasonal and environmental allergy symptoms.” As if that wasn’t enough to handle, several years later her daughter Kate was born and diagnosed with severe life-threatening food allergies and asthma.

Melissa and her family watched Kate constantly, making sure she didn’t put goldfish crumbs or anything else dangerous in her mouth. However, just before her third birthday she had a bite of a granola bar that contained almonds. Despite testing negative to tree nuts on a skin test they quickly learned ingesting a food could cause a much different reaction. She suffered a dangerous attack of anaphylaxis.

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Working for Allergy Awareness!

For children with food allergies, “a normal childhood” can be difficult. It is also something that many parents try desperately to provide. That is easier said than done. From diligently examining ingredient listings, to educating friends, family and school officials about their children’s specific allergies and treatment, it can be challenging. It also requires enlisting the children early on to become their own advocate because Mom or Dad will not always be there. That is the wonderful story of Maya Konoff and her mom Jill Mindlin. Since her young daughter was learning to read a list of ingredients, Jill was educating and advocating for Maya and others about food allergies. Maya has learned those lessons; she has succeeded in becoming a strong advocate for young people with food allergies. Read their amazing story here.

Maya Konoff (L) and Jill Mindlin

Maya Konoff and Her Mom Jill Mindlin Talk Anaphylaxis, Advocacy and Living Each Day to the Fullest

By Kristen Stewart
August 17th, 2020

"Read the 'gredients" was one of the first full sentences Maya Konoff spoke as a toddler over 15 years ago — and it was just the beginning of the lifelong advocacy she and her mother Jill Mindlin have undertaken for herself and others after she was diagnosed with severe food allergies at nine months old.

Maya had many serious reactions particularly between the ages of 1 and 4 and was diagnosed as allergic to all dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish, peaches and mustard. Naturally Jill found this scary and stressful but rather than becoming overwhelmed she got to work. She vowed to protect her daughter — and to not let her miss out on anything just because of her food allergies.

"It involved a tremendous amount of work," Jill says. "I really worked part time my whole career because I always said my first job was keeping her safe. My second job was practicing law."

While some parents go the route of saying no to particular activities in order to avoid possible exposure to allergens, Jill took the opposite approach. She believed anything they wanted to do was possible. It just took a good dose of advanced preparation.

The mother-daughter duo joke Maya's older brother was the "starter kid" and as he began each new school Jill met with officials to tell them about her daughter who would be coming two years later so that they had everything in place to keep her safe by the time she arrived.

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IOA Helps Improve Access to EAI Devices in Indiana

We know that Anaphylaxis, the life-threatening allergic reaction, can be successfully treated with an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI). Without an EAI, the results are often tragic. Many families that have experienced this tragedy are working to promote awareness of anaphylaxis and the need for improved access to EAI’s. In Wisconsin, this has been the work Angel and George Mueller to honor of their 18-year-old son Dillon who died of anaphylaxis after being stung by a bee. When Tabitha Arnett, the Executive Director of the Indiana Osteopathic Association (IOA), met Angel, she was moved by her story and her efforts. Inspired and using Wisconsin’s “Dillion’s Law” as a model, Tabitha successfully created a coalition to help provide increased access to EAIs in Indiana.

IOA Helps Improve Access to EAI devices in Indiana

Tabitha Arnett, Indiana Osteopathic Association's Executive Director
Tabitha Arnett, Indiana Osteopathic Association's Executive
Photos used with permission by Indiana Osteopathic Association.

New Law Expands Access to Epinephrine Auto-Injectors

By Kristen Stewart
July 15th, 2020

Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, strikes about 1 in 50 people in the United States. The good news is it can be treated — but only if there is an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) immediately at hand. Some states including Indiana are working to make that goal a more frequent reality.

While many people with diagnosed serious allergies carry their own EAIs, life isn't perfect and sometimes they can be forgotten. Other individuals may be allergic but not even know it as in the case of insect allergies where up to half of people who died from a sting had no history of a previous reaction. There is no doubt the more epinephrine auto-injectors available in society, the more lives that can be saved. Enter Indiana's new law HB1207.

While institutions such as schools have previously been able to carry epinephrine auto-injector devices for urgent use, most need for this life saving intervention is more immediate according to Dr. Brian H. Black, President of the Indiana Osteopathic Association (IOA) who practices Emergency Medicine at Putnam County Hospital. "This law was needed to expand immediate availability anywhere, for those who may not even know they need it. Anaphylaxis is a true life-threatening event that can threaten an airway in minutes."

"The Indiana Osteopathic Association is proud to have led the charge at the state level in pushing through this urgent measure," said Dr. Black. "Our board is committed to assisting in ongoing awareness and education on use of epinephrine autoinjectors by trained public members."

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