August 24, 2022

Your dog ate your what!?!  How to Have a Great School Year with Food and Environmental Allergies and Asthma

Food and Environmental Allergies

With the beginning of each school year, there’s a sense of excitement for a fresh start, new opportunities, and watching your kids grow up as they move on to the next grade. As a parent, you do all you can to prepare them for the year ahead by taking them back to school shopping for new school supplies, clothing, or sports gear and equipment.  However, one thing that may be overlooked is making sure you have them checked for food and environmental allergies to make sure allergies don’t get in the way of them making the most out of their new school year.

What is an Allergy Safety Plan?

As your child returns to school, it is imperative you have an allergy safety plan in place that has been discussed and reviewed with your child’s primary care physician, teacher, school nurse, and administration. An allergy safety plan lists your child’s common symptoms, medications, and what to do if they have symptoms. Additionally, it should include allergy and asthma triggers whether they are food related, exercise induced, or environmental. If your child has an allergic reaction at school, the allergy safety plan will cover what medicines to administer, and when and how it should be used.

Can my child stay home because of allergies?

It is important to note that each school district has different rules when it comes to the number of days a child can miss, and the process involved in excusing absences. Before the school year even begins, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the rules and regulations of your child’s school system. You should also speak with the school staff, school nurse, and your child’s teacher to discuss your child’s treatment plan and action plan and go over their allergies so everyone can work together to ensure your child avoids allergy triggers and allergic reactions and can access medications when needed. Although allergies can certainly make your child feel very sick, it’s important to work closely with their school to minimize absences and create effective treatment options to manage allergy symptoms during the school day.

Can Asthma Keep My Child from Participating in PE?

A child with asthma that is properly managed with asthma medications and treatments should be able to participate in PE. It is important for you to inform your child’s teacher and school nurse of any asthma diagnosis, so they know when asthma symptoms begin to appear. During physical exercise, asthma symptoms may be triggered, so your child may need to “go at his or her own pace” that day for the asthma attack to be resolved.

How can my child manage food allergies at school?

Managing your child’s food allergies at school can be easily accomplished so long as teachers, and administration are aware of your child’s food allergies. The first step is speaking with your children to make sure they are aware of what foods trigger their allergies so they can do their best to avoid those foods. Additionally, depending on the age of your child, a teacher may have to monitor them more closely during lunch time to make sure they are not ingesting triggering foods. Another way to manage food allergies, is to avoid school lunches and pack a lunch for your child instead. There are many resources available to find recipes and school lunch ideas to provide your child with fun and different allergy friendly lunches every day!

Back-to-school lunch inspiration

Looking for inspiration for a quick and healthy back-to-school lunch? FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) has delicious, kid-friendly bite-sized snack videos for some fun ideas that are free from one or more of the Top 9 allergens! Each can be completely customized to fit your child’s back-to-school needs!

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