Back to School Tips for Children with Food Allergies

If you are a parent of a child that has food allergies, then it is to be expected that you will be concerned about your child’s diet and the effect that coming into contact with particular foods may have.  Allergies present in different ways and some people react more severely than others.  Symptoms may range from developing a skin rash to anaphylaxis. 

Whilst your child is at home, you can control their diet and ensure that they do not come into contact with any foods that cause an allergic reaction.  However, you cannot be with your child for twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Whilst your child is at school, you are leaving somebody else in charge of them.  It is essential that you make provisions to ensure that the risk of your child coming into contact with any food which may cause an allergic reaction is reduced to a minimum.  There are several steps you can take to make sure that this happens. 

First of all, you can arm yourself with knowledge.  It is important that you are fully aware of foods that can cause a reaction.  Knowing the foods that contain an ingredient that your child is allergic to is vital in ensuring that you can pass the appropriate information on to the relevant members of staff at school. 

Secondly, it is essential that a key member of staff at your child’s school is informed of your child’s allergies at that they are presented with any important information.  For example, you may have letters or leaflets about your child’s condition that have been provided by a medical practitioner.  This in turn will keep them fully informed so that they can pass on the information to other members of staff and devise a care plan if this is necessary.

If your child has to carry an epipen to treat their symptoms in the case of accidentally coming into contact with foods that cause an allergic reaction, then it is important that the school also has one on their premises.  An epipen is a devise that injects a quick dose of adrenalin to reduce the severity of the symptoms whilst waiting for paramedics to arrive.  Staff must also be trained on how to use the epipen in the event of an emergency.  Talk to the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator or your doctor to discuss how this can be arranged.