College aged children are more than capable of doing their best to prevent break outs due to food allergies—they’re more vocal and know how to ask waiters about ingredients. They’re also more likely to read labels. However younger elementary and middle school children diagnosed with food allergens are typically not as careful.
And now with school quickly approaching, it’s important that you do the necessary preparations to help protect your child from consuming foods that he or she isn’t supposed to eat while away at school. To help get you started, continue reading below.
Talk to Your Child
The most important thing you need to do is sit your child down and explain to him or her which foods are off limits. Most importantly you need to explain to your child why these foods are restricted. If he or she knows that certain foods can make him or her extremely sick, your child will probably take more precautions to avoid them.
You should also try to tell your child about some symptoms that allergic reactions cause, such as itching, heavy breathing, a swollen tongue, etc. If your child suffers from anaphylaxis, then naturally the symptoms won’t be localized. Make sure he or she is aware. You don’t have to scare your child, but let him or her know about the severe danger and symptoms. That way, if he or she ever feels “strange” he or she knows to seek medical attention/speak to adult right away. It’s equally important to warn your child about the dangers of sharing lunches or accepting treats from classmates.
During orientation or as early as the first day of school, it’s important that your child’s teacher(s) is aware of your child’s food allergies as well. Teachers often like to provide snacks and make special treats that supplement lesson plans. Create a printout food form listing items he or she can’t eat and pass them out to faculty members so they have it on file. You also need to make sure that you administer the school nurses with the proper medication your child needs in case a breakout occurs. They may have Benadryl on hand, but for some students that isn’t enough to fight off a food allergy.
Prepare School Lunches
If you’re extremely nervous about food contamination or anything of that sort, then it’s best if you go ahead and prepare your child’s lunches. At least until he or she starts learning how to ask cafeteria workers what’s in their meals and how to read chips and cookie labels. Even when packing your child’s meals, it might be a good idea to include another food allergy form in his or her lunch kit just in case of an emergency.
Alvina Lopez has freelanced about education throughout her career. She’s currently a resident blogger at www.accreditedonlinecolleges.com. On her downtime, she likes writing articles that help asthma and allergy suffers, as she personally suffered from the two her whole life. She welcomes feedback at [email protected]