It’s back to school time! As a parent, you have a lot to do as you prepare your child for the school year. You may need to purchase school supplies and new clothes, get your child ready for their school schedule, and help them with their homework. If your child has food allergies, you have some additional items on your back-toschool to-do list.
What are food allergies?
Food allergies occur when the body’s immune system has an allergic reaction to particular food proteins. An easy way to think about this is that the body overreacts to something that is not harmful (a food) and treats it as though it is a threat to your health. There are eight common food allergies that account for 90 percent of all food allergies. These are allergies to milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans, fish, and crustaceans.
Food allergies can appear at any time throughout life. Some people are allergic to a food from infancy, while other people develop the allergy later in life.
What are the symptoms of a food allergy?
The most common symptoms of a food allergy are:
- Itching or tingling in the mouth
- Facial swelling
- Difficulty breathing
If your child experiences any symptoms when eating a certain food, it is important that they see an allergist. The allergist will be able to conduct testing to diagnose any food allergies. In addition, an allergy specialist can recommend treatment for the food allergy. For most food allergies, avoiding the food you are allergic to is the best way to prevent an allergic reaction. Your allergist can also determine whether medications like antihistamines or an epinephrine injector are necessary.
How can I prepare my child with food allergies to go back to school?
Here are a few things you need to know about sending your child with food allergies back to school:
- Make sure your child is aware of their food allergy. Teach your child what to say when they are given food and how to check food ingredient labels. This can help your child feel safer and more confident in handling their food allergy. In addition, teach your child what to do if they notice symptoms of their food allergy, especially if they have a prescription for allergy medication or an epinephrine injector.
- When making lunch for your child to take to school, make sure to prepare it in an area away from foods they are allergic to. This helps to prevent cross-contamination.
- Create a network of people who know about your child’s food allergy, including teachers and friends. Educate them on what food your child is allergic to, what their allergic symptoms are, and what they should do if your child has an allergic reaction.
Sending a child with food allergies to school can cause worry, but by following these steps, you can help to keep them safe and healthy. If you would like to learn more about preparing your child with food allergies to go back to school, or if you think your child might have a food allergy, we invite you to contact us today at West River ENT & Allergy.