Mar. 07, 2024

Preventing Food Allergy Emergencies

When Jason and Ali’s daughter was diagnosed with a rare disorder known as Eosinophilic Esophagitis, or EoE, they did what most parents do after such a diagnosis, they researched. 

Both being in the medical profession, the couple were confident that with the right treatment and precaution, the Murrysville-area family will be just fine.

EoE is a condition where one’s esophagus gets inflamed, narrows over time and leads to a variety of symptoms, like difficulty swallowing and chest pains. The condition is also synonymous with food allergies.

Jason recently contacted me to point out that it was Rare Disease Day and told a story that was utterly chilling.
While at a restaurant, he and his wife were always certain to order foods for their daughter that are not problematic. On the list of items to stay away from are milk, eggs or peanuts.

“I’m not sure if there was a trace of milk that was supposed to be in what we ordered her, or if the ingredients were just stored near something with milk,” Jason said. “But it didn’t take long for her to say that her throat hurt, and we knew we had a problem.”
At the worst of the allergic reaction, the Bauers’ daughter turned blue from laryngospasm, a condition where one’s vocal cords tighten and close. Fortunately, with a quick medical response, she made a complete recovery.

Shortly after speaking with Jason, l learned of a legislative proposal that could have made a difference and helped the Bauers and others avoid such a terrible ordeal.

I co-sponsored House Bill 1869, a bipartisan bill that will go a long way in improving food safety.

If enacted, it would require the Department of Health to create a poster about food allergies and for restaurants to display this information in food preparation areas. In addition, the bill would direct restaurants to include language on their menus that reminds customers to advise restaurant staff of their relevant food allergies.

Food allergic reactions result in 30,000 emergency room visits, 2,000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths across the Unted States each year. By making information about food allergies more available, which is the strategy in House Bill 1869, these instances can be prevented. 

Recalling that frightening day, Jason and Ali say that their eyes were opened to how quickly a family meal can become a harrowing situation.

For me, while listening to their story, I am reminded of Pennsylvania-native Benjamin Franklin’s quote that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

In this case, prevention can be achieved by expanding knowledge and opening lines of communication. 

Here are some additional news topics and reminders I would like to share.

Mobile License to Carry a Firearm Event Planned
– Please join me on Thursday, March 14, at the Murrysville Community Center, 3091 Carson Ave. in Murrysville, from noon to 7 p.m., when staff from the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s office will be available to process new and renewal License to Carry Firearms applications. Also, from 1:30 -3 p.m., ask questions and speak with Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli during a Meet and Greet.

PA ABLE Helps Save for Disability-Related Expenses - The PA ABLE Savings Program, an initiative created to help people with disabilities and their families save for future expenses, continues to grow in the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Treasury, which oversees the program, recently announced it has surpassed $100 million in assets. 

ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience. It offers seven different tax-free savings and investment options, including a checking account. PA ABLE account owners can contribute up to $18,000 per year. Contributions can be deducted from PA state income taxes, and PA ABLE account owners pay no federal or state income tax on account growth when used for qualified withdrawals.
The money can be used for everything from groceries, rent, health care and transportation to longer-term expenses including education and assistive technology. Learn more at PAABLE.gov.



Representative Jill Cooper
55th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jordan Frei
724-875-8450
jillCooper.com / Facebook.com/RepJillCooper
 
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