of Students with Food Allergies Has Increased Significantly
school is beginning nation wide, students with allergies to food
need to prepare and school officials need make sure they are properly
educated on how to treat these students. According to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis
Network (FAAN) school nurses nationwide are reporting an increase
in the number of students with food allergies, and safety precautions
should be taken to protect food-allergic students from reactions.
"With the number of school nurses reporting an increase in
food allergies, schools and students need to work together to create
a safe environment," said Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder and
CEO of FAAN. "There is a need, now more than ever, for standardized
training programs for school staff to address this growing public
health and food safety issue."
A Major Safety Issue
are a growing safety concern in schools. The 2004 study,
of Food Allergies on School Nursing Practice, conducted
by FAAN, indicates that 60% of school nurses reported an increase
in elementary-school-age students with food allergies in the
classroom over the last five years. Nearly 94% of school nurses
having at least one child with food allergies in their school
and over a third of the nurses said that they had 10 or more
in the school with food allergies. A large percentage, 87%, listed
food allergies among school-age children, compared with other
health-related issues, as somewhat or very serious.
Because there is no current cure for food allergies, extreme avoidance
is the only way to prevent severe or life-threatening reactions.
Over 11 million Americans have food allergies, including about
3 million children under the age of 18. That factors out to 1-in-25
American children that have a food allergy.
In order to properly safeguard a child against a food-allergic
reaction at school, all parents, doctors, school administrators,
teachers, food service staff, classmates, and school nurses must
cooperate and understand the safety risks. Unfortunately, however,
many times this understanding and safeguarding is the sole responsibility
of the school nurse, who may care for more than 500 students per
FAAN came up with a
way to help students and school administrations share the responsibility.
According to FAAN, "students can
work with the school nurse and other school administrators by Taking
your medicine with you everywhere. Even if you don't plan to
eat when you go
to football games, or when you head to
a friend's house after school, be prepared to treat an allergic
reaction anyway. It's better to be safe than sorry!
risks. If you can't be absolutely positive about the ingredients
a food, skip it and plan to eat something you
know you can have later. It's far better to be hungry for a little
while than it is to have an allergic reaction!
ingredient statements carefully. We've heard from teens who have
reactions because they missed an allergy-causing
ingredient on the label due to reading too fast. One way to make
yourself slow down and read carefully is to read the ingredients
backwards - start at the end of the list and work your way back
to the top of the list.
your allergies to your friends. Don't be embarrassed about your
allergies. If you ever had an allergic reaction
while you are out with your friends, you'll want them to know what
is going on and be able to help you."
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