Home & Family
Passing the Food Allergy Test
8/7/2013 2:26:55 PM

"It’s important for school personnel to be aware that we are not just talking about an itchy skin reaction,” says Dr. Melissa Rasberry, Imperial Health family medicine and Urgent Care physician. "Some children’s food allergies are so severe that even sitting at the same table with someone who is eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for example, can cause a life-threatening reaction.”

She says there are several steps parents can take to keep their food-allergic child safe at school. "Prevention starts at home. Once the parent becomes aware of a food allergy they should work with their child’s physician to develop and Individualized Health Care Plan (IHCP). This plan should include reports from their child’s physician and/or allergy specialist that details the child’s allergy and medication program.”

The Food Allergy Action Plan (FAAP) developed by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) describes signs, symptoms and appropriate treatments for allergic reactions. The FAAP also provides informed consents and contact numbers for parents, guardians and healthcare providers.

"Once a parent has an IHCP and FAAP developed for their child, they should discuss it with the school nurse and teacher prior to the start of the school year,” says Dr. Rasberry. "It’s also critical that parents teach their child how to recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction and how to communicate clearly as soon as a reaction begins.”

Once the child is old enough, they need to be taught how to read labels and to avoid sharing food with classmates.

"Parents of children with food allergies also need to stress the importance of washing their hands before and after eating,” adds Dr. Rasberry. "They should also teach their child how to politely say ‘no thank you’ when offered food that is not from home.”

Finally, they key to a safe and successful school year for a food-allergic child lies in a collaborative partnership between the school, family and medical personnel.

"These three groups need to work together to make sure a safe and healthy learning environment is in place for this child,” Dr. Rasberry says. "This will allow the child to make a safe transition from their home into school. The parents play vital role in providing the school with detailed medical information and medication as needed and educating their child on the allergy. The school plays a vital role in making sure their personnel are educated and responsible about preventive measures and trained to recognize signs of a reaction and react appropriately.”

For more information, contact Dr. Rasberry at (337) 474-2856, or visit www.imperialhealth.com.

Posted by: Katie Harrington | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Parenting

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