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Going to School With Food Allergies

About Your Privacy on this Site. The students spread out and begin to unpack their lunches on the lawn. Billy enthusiastically eats his ham and cheese sandwich, apple, cookie, and milk. His mouth feels a little tingly, and his stomach begins to ache. Remembering Billy has a food allergy, she calls over her coteacher and asks him to take Billy to see the nurse.

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When they arrive, the nurse immediately recognizes the signs of a serious allergic reaction and administers emergency epinephrine while the teacher dials Could anything have been done to prevent it? What would you have done in this situation? Allergy Facts Between and , it is estimated that between 3. The FDA has recorded more than foods as causes of food allergy reactions. Food allergy symptoms can involve multiple organ systems and frequently include rash or hives, itching, tingling or swelling of the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, coughing and, in rare cases, a drop in blood pressure that can cause death.

History and blood or skin tests alone are not adequate to diagnose food allergy, and many tests have high false-positive rates. An oral food challenge is considered the gold standard of diagnosis and should be conducted only in a safe environment with medical personnel and emergency medication at the ready, since it includes giving small and increasing amounts of the food over the course of a visit.


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Oral food challenges may not be necessary or are contraindicated when very severe or life-threatening reactions have occurred. Some foods less likely to cause allergic reactions include citrus, strawberries, sesame, and celery, but any food has the potential to cause a serious reaction. The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease NIAID convened a panel of experts representing more than 30 organizations, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as well as parents and individuals with food allergies, to create comprehensive recommendations for the United States.

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The resulting guidelines represent the consensus or opinions of the leading experts in food allergy definitions and management and contain an exhaustive bibliography. Published companions include a summary for clinicians and one for patients and families. Food Allergies at School Going to school can have its own unique set of challenges for children with severe food allergies. A survey of families showed that nearly one in four children with food allergies has been the victim of bullying because of the food allergy.

There also have been documented cases of hazing involving allergens. Moreover, children with food allergies have higher rates of asthma and other allergies, making an allergic reaction especially dangerous.

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Severe Allergies at School -- How to be Prepared

Because they impact a major life activity eating , severe food allergies are considered a disability covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act, and schools must be willing to make reasonable accommodations. They may worry that the school staff will fail to take the allergy seriously or will be unprepared in case of accidental ingestion. Nutrition professionals can play a pivotal role in helping children with food allergies eat a nutritious diet at school with as little restriction as possible while keeping them safe.

They must give careful consideration to meal planning, training and monitoring of foodservice staff, and the prevention of cross-contamination. Dietitians are uniquely trained to help provide guidance, including cutting through misinformation and calming fears to make evidence-based recommendations for food allergy management.

These guidelines outline specific responsibilities to ensure food allergy safety for students, parents, and schools. Some examples include the following:.


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With good planning and the right precautions, schools can be a place where students learn to manage their food allergies with a safety net in place. As long as nutrition professionals in foodservice take a proactive stance on managing food allergies, families and students will feel confident.

Food Allergies at School: Your Responsibility as a Parent

When designing a management plan, focus on evidence and best practice, not on emotion. To begin managing food allergies, you can implement the following important steps:. Nearly every step in a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plan has a built-in opportunity for managing food allergies.

Use a flow-of-food diagram to identify critical control points for managing food allergies along with food safety.

Advocating for Your Child with Food Allergies at School

Soap and water are best for removing allergenic proteins. With organization and planning, food allergy problems can be minimized and healthful meals delivered to every student. She is currently the senior manager of marketing and communications for the National Peanut Board. Snacks and Lunches for Kids With Food Allergies Appropriate snacks and meals will vary based on the food allergy in question.