For many people, a handful of peanuts makes for a delicious snack. For someone who is allergic to peanuts or other foods, it can be deadly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that between 4-6% of children have a food allergy. It’s an irregular response to food that’s activated by your immune system. In other words, the body responds to a harmless food like it’s a threat.
Sending your child to school when they have a food allergy can be concerning. You may worry about who will ensure your child is safe from the foods that threaten their health.
Below are four tips to help your child manage their food allergies when they’re at school.
1. Communication is key
Right from the start of the school year, and regularly throughout the year, make a point of touching base with school staff. From the teachers and nurse to the principal and cafeteria staff, you need to make sure everyone knows that your little one has food allergies.
You may also want to talk to transportation staff, maintenance staff, coaches, and even other parents and classmates. Everyone can help manage your child’s exposure to the foods that present dangers.
It’s also important to send the right medication to the school to treat an allergic reaction, along with your child’s allergy action plan from Dr. Lubega.
Be sure to discuss keeping your child’s medication in a safe place at all times and decide who at the school will administer medication if needed. If your child is old enough, you may want to let them carry their medicine with them every day.
2. Teach your child to be safe
When it comes to preventing allergic reactions, it’s all about teaching your child to make good decisions and recognizing potentially hazardous situations. You should also teach your child what to do in particular instances.
For instance, teach them to avoid any foods that don’t have an ingredients label. It’s a good way for them to remember to stay away from home-cooked or home-baked goods when they go to a friend’s house.
3. Keep snacks safe
You’re probably worried about your child’s classmates at birthday times or other celebrations where treats are brought to school. Of course, you want your child to join in, but you also want to ensure they know how to participate safely.
Consider sending your child’s teacher a box of snacks that are safe for your child on such occasions, so they can enjoy a treat and still participate in the fun.
You may also want to talk to your child’s teachers about encouraging classmates to bring foods that have labels on for classroom celebrations.
4. Talk to the lunchroom staff
Cafeteria staff are important in your endeavors to keep your child safe at school. Talk to the staff or the food service director to find out how they manage children with food allergies and whether or not that would work for your child. Also, carefully explain your child’s allergies and what to do in the event of a reaction.
Consider asking staff to put up a picture of your child behind the counter so they know what trigger foods to avoid serving them.
Create an action plan today
Whether you want to create a plan of action for the school year, or you need to get to the bottom of your child’s food allergies, Dr. Lubega can help. Call us now or book online for an appointment at First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, NC.