Back to School: Keeping Kids Safe From Dangerous Food Allergies
Sponsored by Saint Peter’s Healthcare System
The back-to-school season may bring on stress for parents of children who live with food allergies.
Parents can help reduce fear and anxiety by following some safety tips from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
School districts may have different policies for how to keep school safe for kids who have allergies.
If you’re a parent of one of the nearly 3 million kids who have allergies, meet with your child’s teacher and school nurse to explain your child’s food triggers. If needed, you can give cafeteria workers a picture of your child and request allergy-free lunches.
Get a note from your child’s doctor that lets your child keep emergency allergy medication at school.
It’s not just lunch to be concerned about — you also need to consider class projects, field trips and parties. Send safe snacks with your child for classroom parties, or ask the teacher to limit parties to non-food items, such as stickers and pencils.
About 90% of allergic reactions in children happen because of allergies to peanuts, eggs, milk, wheat, tree nuts and soy, according to the academy.
Reactions to eating a food allergen can include hives, swelling, upset stomach or a severe, life-threatening response called anaphylaxis.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on food allergies.
SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release