By Heather Burdo
Most children look forward to starting a new school year, but this time may also be challenging for parents who have a child who suffers from allergies. It's normal to feel some apprehension that your son or daughter could have an allergy attack while in school. With a proactive approach, however, you can be assured that your child will be safe and in good hands.
Dealing With Food Allergies During School
A few weeks before school starts, communicate your family's situation with your child's teachers, coaches, principal, and school nurse. The Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) suggests providing the school with a list of your child's food allergies and medications. Outline the potential symptoms that school staff members have to watch out for, in case your son or daughter has an allergic reaction.
Include your child's current photo in this document and put all the emergency contact numbers that responders have to call in case of an attack. Have your child's doctor sign this document to verify all the details. It might also be necessary to give the school an emergency kit that contains a set of your child's medications, including one epinephrine auto-injector.
Join the parents and teachers meetings to talk to other moms and dads about your child's food allergies. If it's severe and life-threatening, carefully explain your child's condition so that other parents will be mindful of the food their kids bring to school as well.
Protect Your Child Against Fall Allergies
Chalkdust, pets brought to school for show-and-tell, and pollen around the grounds may easily trigger allergies. Consider inspecting the school environment to know the potential dangers and discuss what adjustments can be made with the school staff to help reduce the triggers.
If needed, have your child wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a protective mask during school activities, such as a field trip or an outdoor event. If he's into sports, make sure that the child brings his nasal spray to prevent any sneezing episodes or stop the development of a runny nose and other allergic symptoms. While it might look like fun, tell your child not to play in the dead autumn leaves as these collect plenty of molds.
Wash your little one’s clothes as soon as he gets home to prevent the allergens he got from school from spreading in your house. Also, suggest that he take a quick shower. Cleaning up will be helpful in alleviating the triggers.
Always check the pollen count in your area to be prepared for any allergy attacks. If possible, restrict your child's outdoor activities in the early mornings and don’t let him stay outdoors too long during the middle of the day. The pollen count is usually higher during these times.
Your child must also have an emergency medical kit in his school locker and a set of medicines inside his bag at all times. If he has to take antihistamines regularly, consider a nighttime rather than a daytime schedule so he won’t get sleepy in his classes as some medicines can cause drowsiness. However, talk to the pediatrician first before making any changes.
Consider getting a medical bracelet for your child. There are companies that make bracelets with fashion-forward and fun styles for kids. Having this accessory will help responders identify what to do with your child in case of an emergency when you’re not around.
Always Talk to Your Child
It's important to teach your child strategies for managing his condition. You need to make him understand why his body reacts to certain foods or allergens and why he needs to abide by some restrictions to take care of his health.
Teach your child the habit of hand washing to ward off the spread of germs. He must also learn to wipe the table before he has his school lunch. Always pack tissues in his backpack so that he doesn’t have to ask from his teachers or use other wipes that aren’t clean.
Sometimes, your child might become the target of bullying and teasing in school because of his sensitive condition. If your child is older, prepare him for these possibilities with a good talk. Teach him how to walk away from harassment and suggest a buddy system with his close friend or his sibling. The Cleveland Clinic also recommends coaching your child to get help from a teacher or an adult in school to alert them about the bullying.
Heather is a freelance writer from New York. When she isn't writing about parenting, she is tending to her own two handsome boys. She enjoys all things related to motivation and mindset. All work aside, she enjoys activities outdoors and being with her family.
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