According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), nearly six million children across the United States suffer from food allergies. Of those, more than 300,000 were admitted to hospital in the last year alone. To help ensure your food allergic child doesn’t suffer the same fate, SRxA’s Word on Health offers some simple Back-to-School tips for parents. The key to preventing allergic reactions and anaphylaxisis preparation:
- Contact the school well in advance of the first day of class and let your child’s teachers, coaches and school nurse know about their allergies
- Provider the school with a copy of your Child’s Anaphylaxis Action Plan
- Find out about field trips, parties, and special events such as Halloween or Valentine’s to ensure that allergens don’t sneak in along with other treats
- Meet with key personnel that will take care of your child if a reaction occurs
- Find out what plans are already in place for children with food allergies and what steps will be taken if an allergic reaction occurs at school
- Ensure that any medication, such as an EpiPen, on that plan has a physician’s order to cover it at school and that medication is readily available to personnel if it needs to be administered
- Teach your child what foods are off limits
- Teach your child to recognize symptoms and let an adult know immediately if they think they might be suffering an allergic reaction.
- Make sure your child understands not to trade food with others or eat anything with unknown ingredients.
Schools and teachers can also prepare themselves for the food allergic children in their class. FAAN produces some excellent resources as part of its Safe@School campaign. For example, they offer expert in-service training to school districts to prepare staff to confidently CARE™ for students with food allergies by teaching them how to: In addition, FAAN provides training presentations, suitable for elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities. So whether you’re a child, parent or teacher dealing with food allergies, be prepared, be safe and CARE this back-to-school season.