Who says allergies have to be debilitating? It really doesn’t have to be if we are mindful of what triggers our child’s allergies and plan for the eventuality that an allergic reaction will occur during school.
The prevalence of allergies is rapidly rising in the Philippines, and the rest of the developed world, with the number of food allergies increasing by nearly 50 percent between 1997 and 2012, according to studies conducted by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
There may not be a cure for allergies, but to ensure that our children are protected at school, parents and educators should have steps and measures in place that manage and raise awareness to their risk of allergies and allergic reactions.
Below are some steps that you can take:
Have your child wear a medical ID
You feel more assured of your child’s safety whenever they are around you, but what happens when they’re at school, on a field trip or school event? Wearing a medical ID during school helps kids communicate what they are allergic to, informs school officials of emergency contact information, and actions or treatment to take.
Create a line of communication with teachers and school staff
Even with the help of a medical ID, when it comes to managing allergy risks, knowledge and communication is the key. Discuss specific information about your child’s needs with those that see him every day. This will include their teachers, coaches, their school service or driver, and even their yaya. There are often misconceptions surrounding food allergies, and it’s imperative to clear those up.
Have a collection of go-to safe snacks
Food allergies can be scary, but don’t let food become an object of fear in your family. Allergies create an opportunity to teach your kids about safe eating. Find safe snacks to put in your child’s lunchbox or backpack, since kids with allergies may feel left out during times with class treats.
Educate your child about their allergies and how to manage them
Kids with allergies often have a hard time expressing what they are feeling. Talk to your child about their allergies, how to recognize symptoms of a reaction, and encourage them to speak up and openly communicate this when in school. Encourage your child to advocate for his or herself when it comes to prevention.
Plan for emergencies
Have an Emergency Care Plan for you child’s allergy. The plan should include allergens, symptoms, recommended treatment in case of an allergic reaction, any specific doctor notes and emergency contact information.
This plan can be kept on a medical ID, but if he or she does not have a one, plans can be downloaded here, printed and kept in their school bag as a precaution and advise school staff of its availability.
Bring an antihistamine that works
Schools nowadays have a clinic or nurse’s office equipped with the basic medication for students that fall ill. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Choose the right medicine for your child and have them bring it to school, and note this in their medical ID or Emergency Care Plan.