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updated: 11/14/2013 10:20 AM

Food allergy awareness reaches president's desk

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Associated Press

President Barack Obama has signed legislation giving financial incentives to states to stockpile emergency medications in schools that could save lives in the cases of allergic reactions.

The deaths of two girls in Illinois and Virginia from severe food allergies helped spur efforts to get schools to stockpile epinephrine.

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Epinephrine is considered the first-line treatment for people with severe allergies. The medication is administered by injection through preloaded EpiPens.

The measure was co-sponsored by Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk.

In a statement Wednesday, the two said the new law will save lives and give families peace of mind.

A recent CDC survey found about 1 in 20 U.S. children had food allergies -- a 50 percent increase from the late 1990s.

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