According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affect an estimated 8% of children in the United States. That’s 1 in 13 children, or about 2 students per classroom.”
If your child is one of them, you are likely nervous about them being exposed to allergies at school. Let’s look at some ways you can help your child stay healthy and safe in the classroom and cafeteria.
Talk to Your Child About Their Food Allergies
The more your child knows about their food allergy, the better off they will be. This doesn’t mean scaring them, especially if they are young. However, it’s important that they know what foods to avoid to prevent their allergy symptoms.
You could also set a simple rule that at school they are only allowed to eat what you pack for them. If they are older, you can take them with you to the grocery store or Charleston Farmer’s Market to teach them how to read labels or how to look out for ingredients to avoid.
It’s also vital that if your child requires an epinephrine injector for their food allergies they know exactly how to use it and keep it with them at all times.
Speak with Their Teachers
If your child has a food allergy, it’s important that their teachers and other staff who regularly interact with them are aware of it. Schedule a meeting before the start of the new school year to speak with their teachers, principal, nurses, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and anyone else who you think should be aware of your child’s condition and what to do in case of emergency.
You can also write out a plan with your physician that contains instructions on what staff should do for your child if they experience anaphylactic shock and require the use of their EpiPen and hand it out at the meeting.
Make Special Occasions Fun Despite Food Allergies
One of the harder parts about dealing with food allergies in school is having to miss out on treats for birthday celebrations, field trips and holidays. You can help make this easier on your child by speaking with their teacher or sending a note to the parents of other classmates informing them of your child’s allergy. You can ask if safe alternatives could be provided as well or offer to provide them yourself if possible.
If you would like additional information or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, contact Charleston ENT & Allergy today.