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4 Ways to Protect Your Child From Allergic Reactions at School

Posted on November 09, 2018


By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Aug. 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- 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 Pediatric Food Allergy Program 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 recognize 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.

SOURCE: National Jewish Health, news release, August 2018
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved.

Here are some question-and-answer threads from MyFoodAllergyTeam:

Has a teacher ever made you feel bad about your (or your child's) food allergy? How did you respond?

What types of Allergy Identification items would be good for a toddler? (Such a bracelets, stickers)

What are the best allergy-friendly foods to bring to a classroom?

Here are some conversations from MyFoodAllergyTeam:

"So my daughter is in a PEANUT FREE ROOM!!! The classroom is but not the school YET. THEY ARE WORKING ON IT!! Anyway. My daughter came home from kindergarten with really rosy cheeks. One of her signs that she was around something. This is the second time this week she came home with something of a rash. I LOVE OUR SCHOOL they are great with this stuff but she has a young NEW teacher and they have a snack. Wondering if the snack has peanut contact. What would you do? I could always take a big bag of SAFE snacks. But I'm not made of money."

"Our son was only recently diagnosed and finding it quite hard finding foods he can eat and also take to his nut free school! We have found 2 local bakeries in our area that actually make gluten free, dairy free, egg free stuff."

"My son is going on a school day trip today and I'm really nervous. It's hard to put faith in other people, and trust that they will do the right things."

What has been your experience with explaining your child's allergies to teachers? Share in the comments below or directly on MyFoodAllergyTeam.

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