As a parent, one of the biggest worries is how to keep your child safe from the things that may harm them. This may include preventing physical injuries (e.g. always wearing a helmet, kneepads , et cetera), to even protecting them from the intangible things and prolonging their childhood imagination (e.g. the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa, and the like ).
If your child suffers from allergies, especially ones that go beyond mild irritation, your worries likely increase when they go off to school every day. Below are some of the most common life - threatening allergies school children often have, as well as details on what you can do to help keep your child safe every day. While the most effective measure to prevent an allergic reaction is by strict avoidance, there are many steps you can take to protect your child when complete control is not possible.
Perhaps the most common allergy in schools is peanuts or other nuts. Often, schools will send home a notice asking parents to refrain from putting any products with peanuts in them in their child’s lunch. This list will include items like peanut butter, granola bars with peanuts, and any other snacks that may contain nuts.
If your child suffers from this allergy, especially if it is so severe that a reaction would threaten their life, you must inform the school. Let them know about the practices you have in place (medication and otherwise) to help your child. A medical ID bracelet would also help first responders who are not previously aware of the situation. It is best to create an Emergency Care Plan with your doctor that outlines recommended treatment if a reaction occurs, and share with teachers, principles, the school nurse and any other people who supervise your child.
Parents may also wish to consider bringing safe snacks for their child and giving them to the teacher ahead of time. Teachers often use rewards in the classroom, but some of the treats may not be safe for your child. Providing special snacks helps avoid this risk. In addition, ask your child's teacher to discourage food sharing among students.
It is important to have a dialogue with your child so they know how to prevent an allergic reaction, and what to do if one occurs. Teach them to read labels on food packaging, and avoid anything that contains nuts, may contain nuts, or may be produced on shared equipment with nuts or peanuts. Help them recognize the signs, whether it be a skin, gastrointestinal, respirator or cardiovascular reaction. If a child reacts at school, encourage them to tell a teacher or supervisor so they can get immediate help.
Milk and Dairy Products
Sometimes children can be lactose intolerant, which for many simply means they cannot properly digest lactose (commonly found in dairy products). However, there are also children and others who suffer from severe milk allergies — which are quite different . The reactions in a milk allergy are much more severe. Anaphylaxis, a life threatening reaction that affects breathing, can occur in the most severe cases.
Management of this allergy includes avoiding milk and other dairy products and reading labels carefully so as to avoid any harmful ingredients in products not outwardly marked as dairy . Sufferers may also carry (or have someone in the school carry for them) an EpiPen to help with any unexpected incidents.
One of the biggest concerns with food related allergies is cross-contamination, so ensure whenever possible a clean eating and working environment is maintained. Talk with your child's teacher to encourage students to wash their hands after eating, and wiping down eating surfaces. When washing hands soap and water, and detergent wipes are best as gel hand sanitizer does not effectively remove allergens. For surfaces, avoid dish soap and use commercial detergent wipes or spray detergent instead.
When people think of a perfume or fragrance allergy, they often believe the person either does not like or is simply sensitive to fragrances. However, this is not always the case. Individuals can be severely allergic to the fragrance or an ingredient in the main product and experience troubles breathing as well as other life threatening reactions, depending on their situation.
Managing this allergy at home is relatively simple, as you can provide your child with fragrance - free products and eliminate your own use of them. At school, it is down to informing the appropriate people so they can send a notice home with other families, and teaching your child and their teachers what to do in the event an emergency occurs. Ensure that your child and their supervisors know how to use appropriate emergency equipment, such as EpiPens.
Another common life - threatening allergy among children is bee stings (or those from wasps and hornets ). The most common treatment for this type of allergy is the EpiPen to help reverse anaphylactic shock. It is important to note, however, that your child will still need to go to the hospital, as this treatment only stops the reaction for a short period.
The good news is that bees are not common in school buildings, so their threat is different from food allergies, though bees are often a risk when playing outside during breaks throughout the day.
Dealing with life - threatening allergies for your child involves a lot of careful planning , informing others of the plan, and educating your child about how to handle their own allergy when they reach that age. Of course, a good protective measure is an Emergency ID bracelet detailing the allergy so first responders understand how to start treating your child, especially if they were not around to witness the incident in question.Image: highwaystarz / 123RF Stock Photo