Food Allergies in Schools
Did you know that food allergies affect 1 in 13 school-aged children? It's the most common trigger of anaphylaxis for this age group, too. There's been an 18% increase in food allergies among school age children in the last fifteen years. I taught school several years ago and back then I never had even one child with a food allergy. Not one. But, I know that is not the case today, and many parents and teachers are having to learn how to manage food allergies in schools.
But the question that must go through every parent's mind is how do you reduce the risk of ingestion of food allergens while in school?And also, what procedures and strategies are in place to recognize and treat allergic reactions and anaphylaxis?
Notifying the School
If your child has a potentially life-threatening food allergy, you'll need to notify the school. You'll want to let the school know foods your child must avoid, and also any possible substitutions. You can provide them with a written emergency plan or what is often referred to as a "food-allergy action plan". There are many versions of this form and I'll reference a few here:
Food-Allergy Action Plan - from Food Allergy Research & Education (scroll all the way down if viewing on an iPad)
Food-Allergy Action Plan - Douglass Childcare
Authorization of Treatment - Food Allergy Research
Nursing Protocol - Management of Food Allergies: School Treatment
If none of these forms adequately meet your and your child's needs, search with the keywords "food-allergy action plan" for more suitable options. Unfortunately, at this point in time, there isn't a universal form.
Considerations for Developing a Food-Allergy Action Plan
The treatment plan should include:
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