The Muñoz SAFE Act provides lifeline for kids with food allergies

OPINION: My name is Zacky Muñoz. In first grade while at school, my bread ingredients were switched out and included sesame. For most kids, that wouldn’t mean much. For me, it had a consequence.

I started to feel really bad. I felt like something was telling me that I needed help. At that age, I didn’t know what that feeling was, but it created a sense of panic in me that sent off red flags. That day I had my first anaphylactic reaction. I needed epinephrine. I remember that experience like it was yesterday and how scary it was. However, I was lucky because I had people able to help me and most importantly, I had epinephrine available at the time I needed it most.

I was six years old then.

You see, I have food allergies. I am allergic to tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, legumes (peas and beans), avocados and sesame, and unfortunately, we continue to find new ones to add to that list often. Food is part of our everyday lives and we can’t avoid it.  My experience with anaphylaxis is the same as other kids in California with food allergies. We have had or could a potentially deadly reaction any time we eat the wrong thing. Honestly, it is something I worry about often.

Today, I am 11.

Now, I am old enough to know how serious anaphylaxis can truly be. It is scary to know that some kids, like me, didn’t have epinephrine on time or at all and didn’t make it. It is sad to know that recently, in California, this happened at a school event and ended in tragedy. I can’t help to think that could have been me.

This is why AB 1651, the Muñoz Safe Act needs to become LAW.

There is no cure for food allergies. Epinephrine is our only lifeline and having it when we need it can mean the difference of life and death.

The bill ensures epinephrine is never locked up at school during emergencies. It will ensure immediate access to the only lifesaving drug for people with food allergies.

There is no cure for food allergies. Epinephrine is our only lifeline and having it when we need it can mean the difference of life and death. What is most important is that epinephrine’s use must be administered quickly after the first signs of a reaction.

There are 33 million Americans with food allergies and six million of them are children. Nearly half of a million are California students. That is roughly one in 13 students in class. And, the numbers of kids with food allergies continues to increase.

I am proud of the effort that the thousands of supporters of this bill have put into its journey as it has gone from committee to committee. It inspires me because I know that us food allergy kids have superpowers. I know we can make change and we will make change.

AB 1651 – the Muñoz Student Allergy Framework for Emergencies (SAFE) Act makes sense to me, and I hope it makes sense to our legislators.

The Muñoz SAFE Act should become LAW. Students in California are counting on it.

Zacky Muñoz is an 11-year-old boy who has multiple life-threating food allergies. During his first-grade year, Zacky suffered anaphylactic reaction, after being served his allergen of sesame, that required the administration of epinephrine at school.

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