8 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe from Allergic Reactions at School

1.    Be Well Informed: Some states have standing food allergy/management guidelines. If you live in a state that does, your child’s school will have allergy management policies in place. Familiarize yourself with them.
2.    Meet with Your Child’s Allergist or Pediatrician: Work with your child’s allergist or pediatrician to get a letter than states the precautions and treatments recommended for your child. Share this with your child’s school. Ask the pediatrician to complete a Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan. The form should include a list of foods your child is allergic too, the possible symptoms of your child’s reaction, the treatment necessary for your child, contact and emergency information, a current picture of your child, and a signature of your child’s allergist or pediatrician.
3.    Meet with You Child’s Teachers/Principal: Schedule a time to meet with your child’s teachers and inform them about their allergies, symptoms, and remedies.
4.    Meet the School Nurse: Make sure she or he understands your child’s allergies and how to remedy them if necessary. Find out what services are available and how the health room operates during a typical school day.
5.    Meet the School’s Food Service Director: If possible, talk with the individual who runs the cafeteria at your child’s school.
6.    Prepare Your Child: Teach your child what they can and cannot eat, how to recognize signs of an allergic reaction, and treatments necessary and how to use the medication properly. Make sure they carry an Epi-pen with them if necessary. Teach them how to use it and when it is appropriate  use it. Teach them to not eat any foods whose ingredients are unknown, such as home-baked goods. Teach them not to share food with classmates and to wash their hands regularly.
7.    Prepare All Necessary Items Before School Starts: Purchase all the extra items you will need to drop off for your child beyond the usual school supplies, like hand wipes, a special treat box, etc.
8.    Provide the School with Appropriate Medications: If your child is prescribed an Epi-pen, provide at least one to the school. Keep in mind that Epi-pens have a shelf life of 1 year, so be sure to check the expiration date before giving it to the school.

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