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Food Allergy Action Plan Can Keep Kids From Harm

Allergists recommend consulting with school staff on avoidance strategies

MONDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Parents, teachers and school staff need to take measures to ensure the safety of the more than 2.2 million American students with food allergies, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

"Open and frequent communication between parents and school staff is a key ingredient to keeping food-allergic students out of harm. It takes a partnership to establish effective avoidance strategies and emergency plans," Dr. Michael Pistiner, a member of the AAAAI Adverse Reactions to Foods Committee, said in an academy news release.

The AAAAI offers a checklist of safety tips and a sample food allergy action plan to assist parents and school staff as they prepare for the new school year. Among the tips:

  • Inform the school cafeteria, teachers and other staff of what foods your child must avoid. Pack bag lunches. Your child should avoid classroom snacks and refrain from sharing food with friends.
  • When there's a classroom party, provide your child with safe snacks he or she can eat during the party.
  • Push for "no eating" policies on buses and in other settings where there's no supervision of children.

Pistiner, whose own nut-allergic son enters kindergarten this fall, added another important tip.

"Parents should be aware of expiration dates and keep in contact with their allergist to insure that all medication, especially self-injectable epinephrine, is replaced prior to expiration," he said.

More information

Visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology for more on food allergies and their management.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, news release, August 2008

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