Back to School Allergy Preparation
For many parents and kids, “Back to School” is the most wonderful time of the year, but likely for different reasons. Children are excited about reuniting with friends while parents are happy for a little more “space” and school year routines for the kids. Planning for Back to School takes some work, and for kids with allergies, consider these preventative strategies for the best preparation.
Here are some helpful steps:
First and foremost, if you suspect your child has an allergy, have him/her tested by an allergist or immunologist to identify all allergens. Children with allergy may need to be retested annually.
- Inform teachers and other parents of your child’s allergy. Ask for a tour of the school to identify potential problem areas. Most schools understand and support special needs for children with allergy and can assist in allergy management, and many have formalized allergy treatment plans. Be sure they know what to do if an allergic reaction occurs.
- Create a checklist for managing your child’s allergy. If an emergency reaction is possible, ensure teachers and school staff understand symptoms of life-threatening allergy response. Give them the checklist and ask for prevention assistance. This may need to be done annually as staff and grade levels change.
- Teach children with allergy to follow their required health practices whether for food or environmental/insect allergies. For food allergies washing hands, reading food labels, and not sharing foods with friends are important considerations.
- Prevent respiratory reactions by following prescribed treatment for allergic rhinitis and/or asthma caused by pollen, chalk dust, dust mites, insects, dander and mold which are often found at schools.
- Reminders are great and if necessary, set reminders on electronic devices or use other methods to ensure kids take their medicines at required times or follow regimens.
- Always have any necessary emergency medications in a kit, backpack, or nearby during school or off-site school activities.
Asthma is triggered by many different allergic reactions, and at school, commonly by back to school stress, environmental changes (new schools!), seasonal changes, increased activities, pollen, insects and other allergens entering open windows. Having a Back to School allergy prevention plan is the best preparation to ensure your child doesn’t become ill or miss classes due to preventable incidents.
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(Created with resources from American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.)