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Steps for dealing with allergies in the classroom

Allergy Symptoms

For unknown reasons, allergies are on the rise in classrooms. One in 13 children is likely to develop allergies and need a pediatric allergist. As a parent, you need to know the symptoms of allergies and how to protect children from serious illness.

Symptoms from allergies can appear in just a few minutes or take several hours before they are noticed. Mild symptoms could include difficulty breathing, hives, itching or coughing. Dangerous symptoms may include wheezing, chest pain, trouble swallowing or losing consciousness.

Food Allergies

Children are often diagnosed by a pediatric allergist as being allergic to eggs, wheat and milk products when they are young. Surprisingly, many children grow out of these allergies as they mature. However, in some cases, children that are allergic to shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts or fish deal with allergy symptoms for life.

Other Allergies

When sending your child to school each fall, you may notice an increase in allergy like symptoms not associated with food. Schools have a unique environment filled with odors from new flooring, dust, animal dander, dust mites and chalk dust. A visit to school could reveal the source of allergy symptoms such as classroom pets or dirty chalk boards.

Teach Your Child About Food Allergies

Make sure your child knows exactly what foods they are allergic to, and you should explain why they should not eat them. Teach your child not to trade food with other kids. Make sure your child has access to epinephrine at school if required. Talk to them about the dangers of eating home-baked goods or foods with unknown ingredients. Teach your children to recognize allergy symptoms and where to go for help at school.

Working with the School

If your pediatric allergist has determined your child has an allergy, you need to advise the school of the situation. Talk to the nurse, cafeteria staff, administrators and teachers to explain the allergy and care needs. Provide an Emergency Care Plan with the school listing details and emergency contact information.

Author
Dr. Summit Shah

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