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Texas Schools Prepare For Food Allergy Policies

(credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - When classes resume in the fall, Texas schools must have policies in place to deal with students who have food allergies.

Senate Bill 27 requires all public schools and open-enrollment charter schools to have polices in place to care for students with food allergies at risk for anaphylaxis or an exaggerated and potential life-threatening allergic reaction.

"Interestingly we're seeing an increase in all types of allergic disease, so we're seeing asthma, more allergic rhinitis, [and] more allergies, Dr. Drew Bird, Director of the Food Allergy Center at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, explained. "So, we don't know what really is the exact cause behind why we're seeing more now than we used to."

According to Mary Jane Marchisotto, Executive Director of the Food Allergy Initiative, between 16- and 18-percent of food allergy reactions happen in schools.

"About one in 13 kids in the U.S. may have a food allergy," Bird said. "So that's about two kids in every classroom."

The new statewide guidelines will require training for educators and staff.

"It teaches school personnel how to recognize anaphylaxis, how to develop emergency action plans for specific students, but also how to treat kids who may be undiagnosed," Bird explained.

According to published research, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the hospital every three minutes.

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