Pro­tect­ing your child from al­ler­gic re­ac­tions at school

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Wellness -

IF YOUR child has a food al­lergy, safety pre­ven­tion be­longs at the top of your back-to-school check­list. “En­sur­ing that par­ents and school per­son­nel are all on the same page as far as pre­vent­ing ex­po­sures and treat­ing symp­toms is crit­i­cal to keep­ing food-al­ler­gic chil­dren safe,” said Dr B.J. Lanser, di­rec­tor of the Pae­di­atric Food Al­lergy Pro­gramme at Na­tional Jewish Health in Den­ver.

“In se­vere cases, a child doesn’t even have to eat a food to have life-threat­en­ing ana­phy­laxis. Just sit­ting next to a stu­dent who has food they’re al­ler­gic to can trig­ger a re­ac­tion,” he noted in a news re­lease. One child in 13 – or about two in ev­ery class­room – has a food al­lergy, Lanser said.

He of­fers four tips to keep your al­ler­gic child safe:

• Talk to school of­fi­cials: Par­ents should meet with teach­ers, prin­ci­pals, nurses and cafe­te­ria staffers to learn how the school man­ages food al­ler­gies. “Meet­ing with school per­son­nel al­lows par­ents to ask ques­tions and in­form staff mem­bers about their child’s spe­cific needs. It also helps put a par­ent’s mind at ease to see these pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures for them­selves,” Lanser said.

• Write it down: Ask your al­ler­gist to help you cre­ate a writ­ten plan that in­cludes your con­tact in­for­ma­tion and de­tails about your child’s food al­lergy, in­clud­ing ways to pre­vent ac­ci­den­tal ex­po­sures and how to recog­nise and treat symp­toms of an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion. “It should be on file with the school, and ev­ery­one who comes in con­tact with that child through­out the day should have a copy,” Lanser said.

• Post pho­tos: Tape a photo of your child to the class­room wall along with in­for­ma­tion on their al­ler­gies to alert any­one who goes into the room. You can also post one on your child’s desk. “If there is a sub­sti­tute or an­other par­ent that vis­its the class­room, they may not be aware of a stu­dent’s food al­ler­gies,” Lanser said. “Post­ing a photo is a quick and easy ref­er­ence for any­one who does not have that child’s ac­tion plan.”

• Pack safe snacks: Pack al­ler­gen-free snacks so your child doesn’t feel left out if some­one brings in a treat for the class.

Ev­ery stu­dent with a food al­lergy should have emer­gency med­i­ca­tions read­ily avail­able, in­clud­ing oral an­ti­his­tamines and an ep­i­neph­rine au­toin­jec­tor, Lanser said.

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