School Smarts: Preparing for school with your food allergic chil - WDRB 41 Louisville News

School Smarts: Preparing for school with your food allergic child

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Keeping up with a child's food allergies in school can be a daily challenge. Food allergies, which can be life-threatening and cause social issues in the classroom, are estimated to affect 3 million children. Gerald Lee, M.D. from U of L Physicians Allergy & Immunology says there are some key ways parents can protect their allergic children from health risks and bullying.

First, Dr. Lee says parents should know your individual school's policies and procedures regarding food allergic children. Then set up a meeting with the teacher and staff about your child's allergies prior to the start of school. Also take the time to meet your pediatrician or allergist before school begins to make sure the proper forms are filled out and prescriptions are up to date. This could include an food allergy emergency care plan. For an example, CLICK HERE.

Educate your child about his/her allergies.

The Food Allergy, Research and Education (FARE),, has multiple resources regarding food allergies, including what foods that may have hidden food ingredients.  For example, certain hot dogs and lunch meats contain milk protein as a binder or share a slicer that was used with cheese.  And many families don't realize that some pet foods contain peanuts. If you are on Twitter, follow FARE (@FoodAllergy), which often posts allergy alerts regarding products recalls due to hidden food allergens.

Be aware of social issues.

Children with food allergies are at high risk of bullying and should not be singled out. Up to one in three children with food allergy has experienced bullying or harassment.

Additional Information

There are three types of epinephrine injectors on the market:
-Auvi-Q, an injector smaller than the Epipen and able to give verbal instructions on its use.
-Adrenaclick, a generic form of epinephrine that could substitute without the provider's knowledge and works differently from the Epipen and Auvi-Q.

There are also two noteworthy pieces of legislation to address the issue of food allergy in schools:

-KY House Bill 172 was signed into law last year. This bill states that students should have an individual written health care plan from their doctor and should have an epinephrine auto injectors provided by their parent or guardian. In addition, schools are "encouraged" to keep epinephrine in two locations in the school and have proper policies and procedures for a possible allergic reaction.

-On the national level, last July, H.R. 2094 gave asthma grant preferences to states with policies to make epinephrine available at schools and allow trained personnel to administer the drug. They also would like to introduce polices that would remove the fear of litigation of using this drug if it was thought to be necessary.

To contact Gerald Lee, M.D.:
U of L Physicians Allergy & Immunology

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