It’s that time again — ensure that your child has a safe, healthy, successful, and happy school year. If your child has allergies and/or asthma, here are some important things to add to your to-do list.
For children with food allergies, back-to-school is a great time to visit your allergist to confirm your child’s risk for anaphylaxis. Depending on the specific food allergy, some children may outgrow it over time. Remember — the most important aspect of treatment for food allergy is an accurate diagnosis. Food allergies can be difficult to diagnose and often require more than one test to confirm (blood test, skin prick test and possible oral food challenge).
Check the expiration on your injectable epinephrine (Epi Pen, Auvi-Q, generic options) and refill prescriptions if necessary. Because of the shortages with some of the injectable epinephrine devices, the FDA has extended the expiration dates on some lots.
Please be aware that there are now several different auto-injectors on the market. They all deliver the same life-saving medication – epinephrine, however, there are differences in how they operate. It is essential that the patient, family members, and caregivers are trained and comfortable using the product of choice. Also check with your school nurse to make sure they are trained on your child’s auto-injector.
Make sure your Food Allergy Action Plan is in place and all the necessary school forms are signed by the physician. Each school system requires different forms, so call or check their school website.
You may want to meet with the school nurse and teacher(s) to make sure they are aware of the food allergy and are clear on the procedure in the event of accidental exposure. It is important to communicate that when in doubt — always administer epi. Administering epinephrine will not cause any serious symptoms — however delaying use can have fatal consequences.
When your children are young, let the other parents in the class know about the allergy. You may want to suggest food-allergy-friendly snacks or recipes for class parties.
If your child has asthma, make sure you know the triggers and have your Asthma Care Plan in place. You will also need to fill out the school forms and have authorization for your child to carry their medications. When you visit your allergist, they will administer a breathing test and make sure your child doesn’t need an adjustment to their prescriptions. Asthma shouldn’t keep your child from living a full and active life.