(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A private member’s bill introduced by Likud MK Yehudah Glick – who has suffered from a peanut allergy since the age of eight – was approved by the Knesset plenum on its final reading on Wednesday.
The law will require all public eating places and educational institutions to have on hand an epinephrine autoinjector, popularly marketed as the EpiPen, to prevent anaphylactic shock in allergic people.
Glick, who was joined in the effort by MK Yoel Hasson and otrhers, recalled that he had to carry an EpiPen with him as a child wherever he went. The auto-injection device, which has to be replaced about once a year, could save a life. The injection is given in the upper thigh.
Anaphylactic shock is a speedy reaction to an allergy that begins with a rash, swelling of the throat and low blood pressure, and may end in death. There are thousands of Israelis who could have a severe allergic reaction to certain substances, he said.
EpiPens are automatic syringes that inject the neurotransmitter epinephrine to treat life-threatening allergic reactions caused by insect bites or stings, foods, medications, latex and other causes. It contain epinephrine, which works by relaxing the muscles in the airways and tightening the blood vessels.
Since last year, volunteers on Magen David Adom’s fleet of ambulances and ambucycles have been equipped with EpiPens.
Before that, only doctors and fully trained paramedics – as well as patients with severe allergies themselves – could carry the devices.
United Hatzalah has for the last six years equipped all its paramedics and doctors with EpiPens.
Many people with severe allergies carry EpiPens, but sometimes they forget them.
Five years ago, a young woman with an allergy to nuts went into a Tel Aviv cafe and ordered Belgian waffles. When she took a bite after being mistakenly told by the waitress that the dish did not contain nuts, she went into anaphylactic shock and could not be saved – because she forgot her EpiPen.