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Stopping Allergic Reactions at School
(NOVEMBER 2013) The first place that we expose our children to the world outside of our own homes is at school. For many parents, the first day of a child's academic career is bittersweet. While attending school, your child is the responsibility of someone other than yourself for the first time. This tends to be a frightening concept for most parents.
Sending your child off to school knowing that they have special needs, however, is even harder. Kids who suffer from food allergies, diabetes or other possibly life-threatening conditions are even more prone to accidents than children that do not have these conditions. Although your child may suffer from one of these conditions, it is important to allow them to feel normal around their peers. Here a few tips to ensure that your child is taken care of while at school while still maintaining a normal lifestyle.
Inform school faculty
Making sure that your child will be taken care of correctly in the event of an emergency is the number one priority for all parents who have children who suffer from food allergies. “The mistakes that we see when there are reactions in school often have to do with dropping the guard because of lack of education,” said Dr. Scott Sicherer, a professor at pediatrics at Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in a March CNN interview.
Make sure to educate the right people at the school about your child’s food allergy, what to do in case of an emergency, and also supply the school nurse with multiple prescriptions of your child's medication. Also make sure to let coaches or teachers know of common symptoms or “warning signs” that may occur during a reaction so they can keep a close eye on your child when participating in an activity in which food is involved. Be sure to verify that the school nurse is especially aware of your child's condition and is able to distinguish between illness and an actual allergic reaction. Claritin provides some additional helpful hints on how to handle your child’s allergies.
Even if your child is young, make sure they are educated about their condition as well. They should know what foods to avoid and how to do so when placed in different situations. It also doesn't hurt to teach them to read food labels. Most importantly, make sure that your child is aware of symptoms that occur when they are having a reaction so that they can inform the nearest adult as soon as possible.
Pack your child’s lunch
Although it takes extra time and planning, packing school lunches every day for your child is a much safer and healthier alternative to school cafeteria lunches. Even if the school your child attends a school that provides a menu with items for those with special dietary needs, it is best not to chance it. When preparing meals for such a large number of people each day, mistakes can easily happen in the kitchen which puts your child at risk. Make some extra time in the morning to prepare your child a lunch to ensure that they are always safe.
Speak with your child's doctor about what kind of foods to pack for your child, and then go grocery shopping with them so they are able to browse and pick out items that they like. Your child will be more likely to eat something that they picked out themselves. By making your child's lunchbox options full of variety, they will be well on the path to leading a normal lifestyle.
Purchase a medical ID bracelet
By sporting a fashionable and affordable medical bracelet, your child can look cool and be safe all at the same time. Hope Paige has a great selection of fashion friendly (and gender appropriate) medial jewelry, and they don't even look like they have medical information on them! The rubber bracelets are most suitable for children and with an amazing assortment of colors and styles, they could even start a fashion trend at your local elementary school!
By taking these steps to ensure your child's safety, you will be able to breathe easier while they are at school. Equipping your child with the knowledge about their condition is the best way to go – and could potentially save their life in the event of a life-threatening allergic reaction.