As we approach the start of another school year, parents, teachers and school health professionals are developing plans to help accommodate millions of children with food allergies. This year places extra emphasis on planning, as many school districts will be incorporating the use of stock epinephrine into their emergency procedures as provided for by legislation passed by state governments over the preceding years.
The feedback we have been receiving from our readers indicates that school districts across the country run the gamut from well prepared to haven’t got a clue how to deal with food allergies, and the shortage of school nurses to help develop and implement procedures isn’t helping matters.
We recommend that all parents, teachers, school nurses and administrators familiarize themselves with a resource developed by St Louis Children’s Hospital published last year. Quoting from the website, the Food Allergy Management and Education (FAME) Manual and Toolkit is a comprehensive program designed to:
- Provide schools with the components of a comprehensive school-based food allergy program to promote best practices
- Offer resources and materials to schools and families across the country on creating a safe, nurturing educational environment for children with food allergies
- Increase awareness that children with asthma and food allergies have an increased risk of anaphylaxis which is a rapid, severe allergic reaction. It can cause difficulty breathing, swelling, dizziness, and even death.
There are separate sections targeted to educating parents, teachers, school nurses, students, and school nutrition staff among others, and each provides a series of checklists specific to the role.
We encourage parents to read through the FAME manual and then engage with the faculty and administration of their children’s schools before the start of the school year to assess whether their children will be well cared for.
- School Nurse Shortage May Imperil Some Children, RWJF Scholars Warn – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- Food Allergy Management and Education – St Louis Children’s Hospital