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Minister to ease jab rules after nut allergy girl's death

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TRAGIC: Emma died after eating peanut-based sauce

TRAGIC: Emma died after eating peanut-based sauce

TRAGIC: Emma died after eating peanut-based sauce

HEALTH Minister James Reilly is considering making adrenaline injections for those with allergic reactions more readily available.

The move would slacken the restrictions on the life-saving injections for people in danger of dying from a severe allergic reaction to foods including nuts.

It comes after the death of teenager Emma Sloan (14), whose mother was refused an potentially lifesaving adrenaline injection by a chemist because she did not have a prescription.

 

Sauce

Emma had mistakenly eaten a peanut-based satay sauce in a Chinese restaurant and had gone into anaphylactic shock.

Now Dr Reilly wants to widen the availability of the injections, known as an EpiPen, and said the Department of Health is considering a review of the regulations.

"This is in light of a request to pilot a study regarding the administration of adrenaline in the treatment of anaphylaxis by trained anaphylaxis first responders," he said.

"My department is currently examining the legal basis upon which adrenaline can be administered to a patient where the adrenaline has not been prescribed for the patient by a medical practitioner or other prescriber."

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland is conducting an inquiry into Emma's death in Dublin's O'Connell Street.

It confirmed there was provision in legislation that permits pharmacists, in emergency circumstances, to supply certain prescription-only medicines without needing a prescription.

Dr Reilly confirmed that the department is considering the review in a parliamentary reply to Sinn Fein TD Gerry Adams.

Volunteers known as first responders could then be trained in the proper technique to use the injections in places such as schools, workplaces and shopping centres.

People who are diagnosed with this allergy should carry the injection kit with them at all times. The needle releases adrenaline when it is jabbed against the outer thigh.

 

Diagnosis

It is estimated that around 5pc of children and 3pc of adults have food allergies.

A total of 357 patients admitted to hospital in 2012 who showed a diagnosis of anaphylaxis were under 17.

The numbers do not take into account those who are treated at home, in GP surgeries or hospital A&E departments.

The most common causes of anaphylactic shock are nuts, sesame seeds, fish, shellfish, dairy products, eggs, soya, wasp or bee stings, natural latex (rubber), penicillin and other drugs.

hnews@herald.ie


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