14,000,000 school days are missed each year in the US due to allergies.
Allergy triggers on the playground and in the class room are responsible. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology provides these tips to keep your child healthy and safe.
- Avoid chalk dust. Children should wash their hands after handling chalk and not sit too close to the chalkboard.
- Steer clear of bees and wasps. Do not disturb bees or other insects and avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, which can attract insects. Children with an insect venom allergy should talk to an allergist about venom immunotherapy, which can be 97% effective in preventing future reactions to insect bites.
- Pack lunch. Children with food allergies should bring their lunch to school and avoid sharing food, napkins or utensils with their friends. Teachers, coaches and the school nurse should also be informed about food allergies.
- Be aware of breathing troubles after physical activity. Children who experience trouble breathing during or after gym class, recess or other physical activities at school could have exercise-induced asthma. These children should visit an allergist who can diagnose and treat their condition.
- Don’t cuddle classroom pets. Avoid pets with fur and ask not be seated next to children who have furry pets at home. Parents can also request that teachers choose a hairless classroom pet, such as a fish or a frog.
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction. According to the National Institutes of Health Anyone experiencing anaphylaxis needs an epinephrine injection immediately. Rapid decline and death can occur within 15-60 minutes.
Common anaphylaxis triggers include foods, such as peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, pecans), fish, shellfish, milk, wheat, soy and eggs; certain medications, especially penicillin; insect stings from bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets and fire ants.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis:
Skin reactions – hives, itching, swelling and flushed or pale skin.
Oral reactions – swelling of lips or tongue and itching.
Trouble breathing – shortness of breath, a cough or wheezing
Reactions of the throat – itching, tightness, hoarseness and the sensation of a lump in the throat
Cardio Vascular reactions – weak and rapid pulse; dizziness, fainting
Digestive reactions – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps
To treat anaphylaxis
People with severe allergies should have 2 epinephrine injectors with them at all times. Children with severe allergies, their friends and school officials should be trained to use the injectors.