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Food Allergy School Discussion Guide

May 2013

Food Allergy Discussion Guide: Topics to Discuss with School Personnel Regarding Your Child's Food Allergies

This guide is not meant to be exhaustive, but only illustrative of the kinds of topics that should be discussed with school personnel. Always consult your own doctor for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Reviewing the Basics

  • What is a food allergy?

  • What causes an allergic reaction?

  • What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?

  • What is the recommended treatment?

  • What is on my child's Food Allergy Action Plan?
*If your school does not have a specific "Food Allergy Action Plan," you can download one from the Food Allergy Research and Education (requires Adobe Reader Adobe Reader).

Minimizing the Risk of Allergen Exposure

—In the classroom:
  • Snacks
  • Birthday and Holiday Celebrations
  • Science experiments
  • Art projects

—In the lunchroom:
  • Seating arrangements
  • School-provided meals (ingredient lists; cross-contamination prevention)
  • Sanitation protocols
  • Hand washing AFTER eating
  • Lunchroom monitors

—In enrichment classes (music, PE, art)

—During before- and after- school activities

—On the bus

—On the playground

—During special situations:
  • Field trips
  • Substitute teachers, substitute nurse, new personnel
  • School-wide festivals or other celebrations

Responding to a Food Allergy Medical Emergency

—Annual training and education for staff on how to:
  • recognize symptoms of an allergic reaction and
  • respond to a medical emergency

—Where will the epinephrine auto-injector be kept? Who will have access?

—What is the emergency protocol? (e.g., who will administer the epinephrine?, who will call the rescue squad?)

—Does the emergency protocol need to be adapted to different scenarios? (e.g., what if the allergic reaction occurs on the playground? on a field trip? on the school bus?)

Food Allergy School Discussion Guide:
  • Reviewing the Basics
  • Minimizing the Risk of Allergen Exposure
  • Responding to a Food Allergy Medical Emergency
Download the Safe@Schools Food Allergy Discussion Guide (requires Adobe Reader Adobe Reader).

Author Maria Laura Acebal, J.D., is the Founder & Director of "safe@school partners", which merged with the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (now Food Allergy Research and Education.) Reprinted with permission.

Updated August 2008.

Approved by KFA Medical Advisory Team August 2007. Links revised May 2013.

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Page last updated 7/29/2012

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