Eleanor Garrow Holding, president & CEO of FAACT, shares her perspective on the purpose and importance of developing a proper food allergy diagnosis and management plan when sending your food-allergic child(ren) back to school:
It’s that time of year again, back-to-school, which can be stressful for many parents of children who suffer from food allergies. It’s important to get educated and prepared.
When my son, Thomas, was first diagnosed with multiple food allergies, we did not have that family history or the knowledge of food allergies and anaphylaxis, so we felt very alone. I don’t ever want families to feel like that because there’s so much support and education out there and resources from FAACT and other organizations that are available to them.
Here are a few food allergy safety tips that parents should keep in mind when sending their food-allergic child back to school:
Prepare and share a food allergy action plan, in conjunction with all school employees. Ensure all staff who works with your child is aware of this plan. Also, make sure your child is aware of the plan, so he or she knows what to do in case of an emergency.
Keep epinephrine auto-injectors available. Stock epinephrine auto-injectors at school and in your child’s backpack so that he or she is prepared at every point during the school day.
Self-management is key. Work with your child on how to self-manage his or her allergies.
Be prepared for field trips and after-school activities. Make sure you and your child are aware of provided meals or the need to supply food and that chaperones are mindful of your child’s food allergy and action plan.
Livingwithfoodallergies.org serves as a resource to those who have questions about food allergy diagnosis and management, encouraging follow-up with a board-certified allergist.
Also, many of you might be familiar with my friend Jo Frost, Global parenting expert/ TV Factuality Star, who is now the new spokesperson for FAACT. She is not only a food allergy advocate, but also a food allergy sufferer who has a passion for this cause and is working to educate people on the issues of health and safety surrounding anaphylaxis.
Here is a link to a video of Jo discussing her personal food allergy experience and recommendations on food allergy diagnosis and management. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VVzV8ZXK_M