Food Allergy Awareness Week is approaching and serves as a nice reminder of the many student allergies in our schools. With food allergies becoming more prevalent among students, particularly peanut allergies, schools are trying to address the growing concern for students, parents, and schools alike. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the school environment is of particular concern, as “Studies show that 16%–18% of children with food allergies have had allergic reactions to accidental ingestion of food allergens while in school.”
The National Business Officers Association (NBOA) addressed the issue in the November/December 2011 issue of Net Assets, in the article “Going Nuts”. The article asks the question, “Should schools take notice of students with food allergies?” Their answer, and Magnus Health’s answer, is yes. For proof, look no further than Tyler Edwards, an elementary school student who suffers from a peanut allergy. His life was saved thanks to the preparedness and action of the school.
Schools need to be aware of student allergies, the degree of the allergies, and make reasonable accommodations for the student(s) in question in order to protect the student(s), and avoid lawsuits. Reasonable accommodations can include a separate, peanut-free lunch table or peanut-free classroom. Some schools are also limiting birthday snacks, and photographing food labels for the school website.
According to the article, it is important that the parents, school, and doctor communicate, particularly regarding the severity of the allergy. With the parent, school, and doctor in communication, the child’s health can be optimally monitored.
Learn how Magnus Health’s Student Medical Record provides that communication and helps schools stay prepared. Also stay tuned for the new Food Allergy Awareness research paper coming just in time for Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 13-19, 2012.
For additional information on food allergies:
- Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States
- US Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics: Food Allergy Among U.S. Children, Trends in prevalence and Hospitalizations
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food Allergies in School
- Are our schools ready for allergic attacks?
- FAAN: Food Allergy Awareness Week