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Allergy education important for kids, teachers, and parents

As anyone who deals with life-threatening allergies knows, allergy education is a critical part of the school curriculum. Not only do children need to learn about this serious issue, including the ability to identify it, seek help, and even treat it, but so do the adults around them. Teachers, other school staff, and parents should take it upon themselves to learn what to do when confronted by or exposed to this life-threatening issue.  

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that affects the whole body. It can be triggered by many types of allergens, including insect stings or bites, food, and certain medications. Some of the most common food allergens for kids include shellfish, peanuts, milk, tree nuts, wheat, and soy. Latex is another common trigger for anaphylactic reactions.  

In order to be prepared for an anaphylactic flareup, schools should have multiple automatic external defibrillators on site and staff members who are trained in how to use the equipment as well as CPR. By taking these two precautionary steps, along with providing allergy education to students and staff, they can be prepared for a case of anaphylaxis. Students with known allergies should always have their prescription epinephrine shot nearby.  

The 2014 Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 11-17. Teachers and administrators are encouraged to include training about anaphylaxis throughout the week. Parents who would like to get involved are encouraged to do so. Get information online, partner with school administrators, and insist on a safe and educated environment where your child, and his or her peers in the classroom, will all be protected from a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Dr. Summit Shah

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