web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Back to School With Food Allergies

Back-To-School-logo-083112

School is in the air. The leaves haven’t changed yet but they have lost their vivid green hue. New shoes, backpacks, fresh notebooks await that first day of school. For over 5 million US food-allergic students, preparing for school also means dealing with a host of challenging situations: recess; lunch time; birthday parties; cooking projects; special treats; school outings. How will these be dealt with safely?

I recently had a discussion with another food allergic parent about school allergy management issues. How much should schools be doing? What is the parents’ responsibility? Are there any laws (such as ADA) or federal guidelines that might apply to food allergic children?

Sadly, most schools aren’t sufficiently prepared to meet the needs of food-allergic children. A joint study between the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Nextwork (FAAN) and The Jaffe Food Allergy Institute revealed the nature and frequency of food allergen ingestion during school. Offending allergens were most often ingested at birthday parties, holiday celebrations, craft and science projects, field trips and bus rides. Alarmingly, only 1 in every 3 food-allergic students had a treatment plan in place. The study found that treatment delays were due to: delayed recognition of a reaction; calling parents first; not following emergency protocols and not being able to administer Epinephrine properly. Bottom line, most schools are simply not managing the needs of their food-allergic students effectively.

The study is sobering but needn’t be depressing. There is much that can be done proactively and reactively to help food-allergic children. Thanks to the passage of FAAMA (The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act) there are now national food allergy guidelines for schools. In addition to these comprehensive guidelines, schools can consult their local and state food allergy management guidelines.

While proactive strategies are essential in minimizing allergic reactions, accidents happen. Let’s focus on reactive plans, how to respond to allergic emergencies. Swift assessment of the situation and prompt treatment are key. Signs and symptoms vary from person to person and even within the same person. Some reactions progress slowly while others can strike with lightning speed. Be on the lookout for signs like hives, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, runny nose, itchiness, funny taste in the mouth, tongue tingling, throat closing up, and lethargy. The first responder will have to make a quick judgement call and determine treatment. When in doubt, never hesitate to administer epinephrine.

Delays in administering epinephrine can be fatal. While auto-injectors can seem intimidating, they are very easy to use and save lives. All school personnel should be familiar with epinephrine administration. A reaction can occur on school trip or even in the Art Room. Everyone should be prepared to respond if necessary. Once epinephrine is administered, the child should be brought to the closest Emergency Room for monitoring. Rebound reactions, a recurrence of life-threatening symptoms after initial treatment, can occur.

Another point that must be addressed in school food allergy management is bullying. According to a study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, more that 30% of food allergic children reported being harassed because of their food allergies. Schools must have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bullying to protect all of their students, especially medically vulnerable ones.

Schools have an enormous responsibility in the management of food allergies and they can only live up to this task if they partner with students and their parents. For the parent of a food-allergic child, there is no such thing as “outsourcing” their child’s allergy care to the school. They must understand that having their child in the school is harder for faculty. Approaching the faculty with honey rather than vinegar goes along way. Parents must remain vigilant and actively communicate with school’s administration and faculty to keep their child safe.

Parental responsibilities include:

1. Preparing and updating their child’s food allergy emergency action plan that includes: a student’s allergies and medications; signs and symptoms of child’s reaction; contact numbers (parents, healthcare providers) and informed consent (as well as insurance info).

2. Creating a 504 plan if appropriate (only certain food-allergic conditions are considered disabling and qualify for American’s with Disabilities Act Protection).

3. Providing school with medications and auto-injectors (must be easily accessible).

About the Author: Tamar Warga is a mother of 4 food allergic children and the author of two books: A Taste of Sweetness- Rosh Hashana Cookbook and A Taste of Freedom- Passover Cookbook. She blogs at Kosherfoodallergies.blogspot.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Back to School With Food Allergies”

  1. Very informative article.
    Another great job Tamar!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations David Roet, at a UNSC meeting held July 22, 2014 regarding the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel Attempts to Insert Reason into UN Debate About Middle East
Latest Sections Stories

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.

Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.

So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

Our harps have 22 strings. This gives musicians a wide musical range and yet stays within Biblical parameters.

More Articles from Tamar Warga
Warga-112913-Potato

It’s not Chanukah without latkes! That’s true; but don’t make the same boring latkes this year. Go for something healthier, more vibrant, and flavorful.

Warga-logo

Preparing for an ordinary Pesach is daunting enough with all of the cleaning, shopping, cooking, and preparation, but add food allergies to the mix and you could literally “go nuts.” Don’t go nuts, go nut-free and egg-free too. While Pesach poses dietary challenges, they are not insurmountable.

Purim is a time of great celebration. Many of our traditions for this chag require food – festive meals, mishloach manos. Abundant food can mean abundant pitfalls for the food allergic. How can one navigate this maze of food allergy landmines?

School is in the air. The leaves haven’t changed yet but they have lost their vivid green hue. New shoes, backpacks, fresh notebooks await that first day of school. For over 5 million US food-allergic students, preparing for school also means dealing with a host of challenging situations: recess; lunch time; birthday parties; cooking projects; special treats; school outings. How will these be dealt with safely?

The Nine Days are upon us once again. This historically sad period in Jewish history shouldn’t be made worse by allergic emergencies. If you (or your child) suffer from milk allergies (or lactose intolerance), planning meals for the nine days can be a challenge.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/back-to-school/back-to-school-with-food-allergies/2012/08/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: