Allergies pose a serious threat to the health and very life of children who are afflicted with them. Some sad instances of kids dying of allergies at school have been reported. That's a sobering realization. However, that doesn't mean that your child can't be and feel safe and secure at school. Most food allergic kids safely attend school on a daily basis. Follow these tips to help ensure that your child's safety is given serious consideration and focus at their school.
Tip #1: Schedule a Meeting with the Principal and All Your Child's Teachers
You are entitled to ask for a meeting, and the importance of your child's allergy needs to be emphasized at this meeting. Let the principal and teachers know the facts about the allergy and how even one misstep can put your child's life at risk. Be sure to ask if any of the staff has had training in handling allergies and which emergency action plans will be in place. The principal and educators should listen respectfully and take action to help ensure your child's safety. Try to set aside worries that you may be perceived as a troublemaker and trust that you deserve to stand up for your child's safety.
Tip #2: Educate Your Child without Using Scare Tactics
Your child should be their own best advocate when it comes to health and safety concerns. Make sure they know exactly which allergies they have and why they need to stay away from them. Ask open-ended questions to ensure that your child understands how important it is to avoid the object that triggers their allergy. You may ask the following open-ended questions to make sure they understand:
- What frustrates you about your allergy?
- What does it mean to you to be allergic to (name of the allergy trigger)?
- What do you wish others understood about your allergy?
- What will happen if you are exposed (name of the allergy trigger)?
- What scares you about the allergy?
Once your child starts answering these questions, you can best determine the follow-up questions to ask to probe deeper answers or which words you should say to reassure them about unfounded fears.
Tip #3: Keep an Epinephrine Injector with Your Child All the Time
Make sure that your child has an epinephrine injector with them every time they leave for school. It should stay with your child or otherwise follow the procedure at their school. For example, the teacher may take it and keep it with them. The school should always have one specific place where it is stored, so that there won't be a struggle to find it in an emergency. Have ongoing discussions with educators about how your child will be assured easy access to it in an emergency.
Finally, keep in mind that allergies are likely to be a part of your child's life forever once they are diagnosed. However, it doesn't have to define their life. It can simply be a part of their life that they can manage and continue to live life to the fullest. For more tips on how to handle your child's allergy at school and in case of an emergency, talk to a doctor like those at Southern Allergy and Asthma PC.