to School With Allergies and Asthma
AAIA National News - Vol 1, No. 2, September 1998
Mary Allen, Regional Coordinator AAIA Quebec and
Shanks, Regional Coordinator, AAIA Atlantic
head back to school, it is important to make sure that teachers
and school administrators have sufficient information and clear
instructions about medical requirements for the children in their
care. Some advance preparation is essential. Teachers will have
their hands full during the first week of school, so it is better
to communicate any special needs or medical information well in
advance. Make an appointment several weeks before school starts
or even earlier if the medical situation is serious or involves
special precautions. A letter from a physician may be required.
It is also a good idea to send a picture of the child along with
any medication, to reduce the risk that it is given to the wrong
your allergic child to school, it is normal to feel anxious. Your
child may be anxious as well. Remember, education and preparation
are important. This is a process that involves your child, his peers,
teachers, school administrators, lunch time monitors and bus drivers.
Concise written instructions are essential. It is also crucial that
medication be readily available and that a MedicAlert® bracelet
long run, the goal is to prepare the child to be safe in all situations
where allergens are present, at school and elsewhere. Even if the
child is allergic to peanut and attends a school which has a "no
peanut" policy, do not neglect the education and preparation strategy.
No school can totally guarantee that children will never bring in
peanuts. The best safeguard is a child who has been trained to act
as if the allergen might be present and who is prepared to speak
up if a reaction occurs. The child's ability to look after him/herself
should be well developed by the time he/she is old enough to visit
neighbours' homes without having a parent along.
medical advice for your individual needs, consult your health practitioner.
a physical checkup before school begins. Obtain a letter from
the physician giving information about the child's asthma and
with school personnel before the school year begins. Bring medications
and copies of the doctor's letter to this meeting.
an emergency plan in place. Post it where all staff will see it.
rules in place at the beginning of the school year and be sure
everyone knows and respects them.
supplied to the school should be clearly indicated with photo,
name and instructions. Check expiry dates often. Store epinephrine
injectors and other medications at room temperature (not in a
glove compartment of a car or in a refrigerator).
epinephrine injectors and other allergy medications left in a
school without electricity like during the ice storm in Quebec
and eastern Ontario. Freezing temperatures affect them adversely.
sure that everyone knows where medications are kept and that they
are accessible at all times.
a child is allergic to animals, there should be no mammals or
birds in the classroom. Classrooms without carpets are preferable.
the physical education teacher to discuss how exercise will affect
asthma and how this can be managed.
the school informed of all changes in your child's health, medications
sure the school has a notification phone number for emergencies.
Report any changes.
to help on field trips and other class activities.
should accompany the child on excursions away from the school.
EpiPens® in their protective tube. This tube has a protective
coating and provides UV protections from sunlight.
carry the epinephrine injectors in a pouch around the waist so
that it will be accessible at all times.
good hygiene and frequent hand washing. For very young children
with severe food allergies, consider allergy-free zones in the
school so that the child is not exposed to his/her allergies.
not become complacent. There is no 100% guarantee that a reaction
will not occur, even if there are allergy-free zones in the school.
children to be responsible (age appropriately) for their eating
allergic children should never share food or drinks. Snacks can
be provided by the parent of the allergic child for special occasions.
such a policy exists, express appreciation to other students and
parents for not bringing or sending restricted foods.
read labels when purchasing food. Ingredients do change, so you
must read product labels each time you purchase a food, even if
you have purchased it numerous times before. Almost all product
containers carry a 1-800 number if you have any questions or concerns.
allow a food allergic student to eat a food that has not been
prepared or sent from home.
provincial school policies. Education is a provincial responsibility,
so an identical nation-wide policy is unlikely.
Information Association (AAIA)
Toronto, Ontario M9W 5K9
Phone (416) 679-9521 or 1-800-611-7011 Fax: (416) 679-9524
172 Andover Road, Beaconsfield, Quebec, H9W 2Z8
694-0679 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
of Use: The information
on this site does not constitute medical advice and is for your
general information only. We cannot be held responsible for anything
you could possibly do or say because of information on this site.
Consult your family physician or allergist for specific questions
This article courtesy of the Allergy/Asthma
Information Association at www.aaia.ca and the Calgary Allergy Network
web site at www.calgaryallergy.ca. May be reproduced for educational,
non-profit purposes with proper attribution.
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