– The state House of Representatives this week unanimously approved Rep. Ryan Warner’s (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) resolution raising awareness about food allergies and the impacts they have on children and their families.
House Resolution 798
designated the week of May 10-16 as Food Allergy Awareness Week in Pennsylvania. Passage of the resolution was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the official Food Allergy Awareness week has passed, people who suffer with these allergies deal with them each and every day. It is never too late raise awareness about this fast-growing and potentially deadly condition,” Warner said.
Watch Warner’s comments in the House chamber here
Speaking about the resolution in the House chamber, Warner shared the story of how he and his wife learned their 4-year-old son, Ben, was severely allergic to cashews and walnuts. After simply touching a cashew, Ben started to eat his lunch and suffered an extreme reaction that resulted in his body turning red, hives breaking out on his face and difficulty breathing.
“Ben’s food allergy has not only changed his life but the lives of our whole family,” Warner said. “Activities many families take for granted – such as going to birthday parties, amusement parks, playgrounds, restaurants and more – are frightening because you don’t know when your child may accidentally come into contact with an allergen.
“Hand washing, social distancing and eating at home rather than eating out were the norm for my family long before the COVID-19 crisis,” he added.
Warner thanked his fellow lawmakers for support of a law he sponsored (Act 93 of 2018) to expand access to Epinephrine Autoinjectors (EAIs), commonly referred to as EpiPens, by allowing a variety of organizations to obtain a general, non-patient-specific prescription to keep the medication on hand. He encouraged the General Assembly to consider policies to improve food labeling, ensure EpiPens are affordable and accessible, and encourage development of treatment options.
It is estimated 30 million Americans suffer with food allergies, and approximately 6 million of those are children. Food allergies among children have increased over 50% in the last decade, and children suffering with such allergies are twice as likely to be bullied than children with other medical conditions.
Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. While immunotherapy offers a promise for treatment, there is currently no cure for the allergies.
Representative Ryan Warner
52nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
Rep. Ryan Warner (right) and his son, Ben, join Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) after the state House unanimously approved Warner’s resolution raising awareness of food allergies. Ben’s food allergy was discovered two years ago when he simply touched a cashew.