All about Allergies
Contact the child’s teacher before sending food items for birthday or classroom parties to make sure that the food is safe for all students.
- Know that ALL food must be pre-packaged in the original container, listing all ingredients.
- Consider inexpensive, non-food items for birthday parties and classroom celebrations.
- Plan an activity instead of a birthday treat (contact teacher in advance).
What is a Food Allergy?
The job of the body’s immune system is to identify and destroy germs (such as bacteria or viruses) that make you sick. A food allergy results when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein – an allergen – as a threat and attacks it.
Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe. Just because an initial reaction causes few problems doesn’t mean that all reactions will be similar; a food that triggered only mild symptoms on one occasion may cause more severe symptoms at another time.
The most severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis — a life-threatening whole-body allergic reaction that can impair your breathing, cause a dramatic drop in your blood pressure and affect your heart rate. Anaphylaxis can come on within minutes of exposure to the trigger food. It can be fatal and must be treated promptly with an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline).
Managing Severe Food Allergies at School:
Severe food allergies can be worrisome to both students and parents, but by working with the school nurse and developing an appropriate plan for use at school, students and parents can rest easy.
Parents are responsible for the following:
- Speak to your child's doctor or allergist about special measures or needs during the school day. Local Allergist Listing.
- Notify the school nurse at the start of the school year.
- Complete a Food Allergy Action Plan, (specific instructions in the event that your child accidentally ingests a food allergen during the school day).
- For children who may require the use of emergency medication (Epi-pen or Benadryl, etc.), a Triad Request for Medication Form should be completed by nurse & parent, & signed by the doctor and parent. All forms must be turned in to the school nurse.
- In the elementary setting, medication is usually kept in the nurse office, but this may vary, depending on the unique needs of the child.
- For children who need a food substitution, such as soy milk or similar, physicians may complete a Physician's Statement for Food Substitution.
NOTE: Emergency Epinephrine may be administered via an undesignated epinephrine auto-injector to a student who, in the school nurse’s professional judgment, is experiencing a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. See Triad Policy for more information.
Honeybees, bumblebees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants are the most common sources of insect stings in the United States. The symptoms of severe (anaphylactic) reactions to insect stings usually occur within minutes of the sting. Insect sting reactions can range from local and mild to life-threatening. Local reactions can involve swelling of an area larger than the sting site (i.e., the entire arm can be swollen after a sting on the hand). This type of reaction may also include nausea and low-grade fever. Notify your school nurse if your child has a serious allergy to an insect bite. Insect Sting Allergy Information. If medication may be necessary, a Triad Medication Form, signed by doctor and parent, must be completed.