Food Allergies and School

Every food allergy parent faces the fear and trepidation of sending their child out to school. Especially when a child is just entering school age. They are still young and unable to manage their ailment on their own, yet independent and mature enough to start school. It’s that scary feeling of having them out of your control and in an uncontrolled environment.

You recognize the signs and symptoms of a food allergy attack and can act appropriately, but will the teacher, school nurse, or caregiver?

There are a number of steps that can be taken that will help prevent a reaction and help the first responders in the event of a reaction.

First and foremost, speak to the people who will be taking care of your child. A sit down every year with your child’s teachers, principal, bus driver, and school nurse is crucial. Tell them what your child is allergic to, how severe the reaction is, and what symptoms they exhibit. In the event of an emergency, what steps need to be taken, and a proper action plan should be filled out and given to each care provider.

Make sure that proper care is taken by the teacher or school to avoid projects, crafts or rewards that may contain allergens. Sometimes when we focus on food allergy our immediate concern is on the lunches and mealtime and we can forget that there are other scenarios where our child can come into contact with an allergen.

Field trips are also an important part of a child’s learning process. Call the school the morning of the trip to remind the teacher or caregiver to take the epinephrine auto-injector with them, or send one with your child in their trip bag. That’s why an Epipen® or Auvi-Q® case is very important. A RescueShotCase™ Epipen® or Auvi-Q® case can be clipped onto a bag using a carabineer or worn on the belt. It’s a great way to ensure that it’s always with them.

One thing to consider is the location of the epinephrine auto-injector. Depending on the age of the child, some schools will keep the Epipen® or Auvi-Q® mounted to the wall in the classroom or school nurse station. Some teachers keep the epinephrine in their desk, so it can be easily carried out to recess or field trips. It all depends on the school’s policies and the comfort level of the teacher in administering the Epipen® or Auvi-Q® in the event of an emergency.

When children are older, in many states, they are generally allowed to carry their own auto-injectors. Using an Epipen® case (like RescueShotCase™) makes it easier for your child to carry it either on their belt, or attached to their bag. An Epipen® or Auvi-Q® case will also help protect the auto-injector from a child’s active lifestyle.

You can get more information on RescueShotCase™ at www.rescueshotcase.com

Here is a great resource for parents:

http://www.foodallergy.org/document.doc?id=123

Here is a great checklist for teachers:

http://www.foodallergy.org/document.doc?id=136

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