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  December 22, 2014
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Home > Occasions > Back to School > Articles > Food Allergies: What to Do when Your Child is the One Who Could Get Sick?

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Food Allergies: What to Do when Your Child is the One Who Could Get Sick?

Eight hours later, she woke from her coma.  She was in Emergency Room with her parents sitting by her side.  She was dazed and confused.  Earlier that day she was having an asthma attack, so one of her cabin-mates at camp shared some of her own medication to help her breathe.  What no one knew was that the capsule was coated with egg whites.  That is common in some medications to help make them more slippery and easy to swallow.  The camper was highly allergic to eggs; and consequently went into anaphylactic shock. Camp counselors couldn't revive her, so they called an ambulance.  That is a true story.

Unless you or a loved one has food allergies, it's impossible to convey how consuming avoidance can be.  It is a little more in depth than "don't eat the peanuts".  Severe allergic reactions can occur merely by smelling or touching the forbidden food.

Now that it's back to school time, what can you do so that you child isn't the one who gets sick?

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology issued a statement on Anaphylaxis in Schools and Other Childcare Settings.  The statement outline requirements that school staff, childcare providers, and food service personnel must take.  But please don't rely solely on staff adherence to these requirements.  Take matters into your own hands.
Here are some proactive steps you can take to preclude allergic reactions in your child:

  1. Inform the staff specifically what is needed to ensure no problems at school.  Let them know that you want to work with them to keep your child healthy and not cause classroom disruptions. Get familiar with the school building, lunch facilities and policies regarding snacks.
  2. Don't make assumptions about the staff's knowledge.  Give them information and resources.  Help them understand how to administer medications or to use an epi-pen.  Remind them that since they are required by federal law to assist your child and to include her in normal school activities, you'd like to help make that happen smoothly.
  3. Empower your child.  Reinforce the importance of knowing potential food allergy triggers and identifying them to her teacher. Med-Alert bracelets are helpful, too.
Sure it may take some adjusting on everyone's part, but by working with the school and with your child, you should be able to have a safe, happy and healthy school year! 

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