I recommend that the reader visit the Food Allergy Network at FoodAllergy.org for comprehensive information on food allergies.
Preparing our schools to handle students with food allergies is important. There has been a steady increase in the number of children who suffer from a food allergy. Studies have reported numerous facts concerning food allergies.
In Michigan 55% of the 109 public elementary schools had 10 or more students with a food allergy, and only 16% had a written emergency plan. A review of the National Peanut and Tree Allergy Registry showed 124 reactions occurred in schools or child care. One-third of the reactions occurred in school and two-thirds in day care, only 33% of the patients had an established Emergency Plan. Of 750 allergy reactions that occurred in a school or daycare, one third of those reactions were not recognized by the school staff. Unintentional exposure was caused by ingestion (60%), skin contact and possible ingestion (24%), and inhalation with possible skin contact or ingestion (16%).
Schools need to have an established Emergency Plan, and assure that each student is registered and has epinephrine. The entire staff needs to be trained and aware of how to handle food allergies, avoid the food by using separate tables, label all food brought into the school for the cafeteria, including treats. Do not allow the food-allergic child to eat treats and snacks brought in by other students. A food allergic child should have their own supply of safe treats and snacks provided by the parents. A general plan dealing with the food allergic child can save a life, and enable the child to be at school without constant worrying or fear.
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