Tip #1: Food Allergies In School
Food allergies affect approximately 8% of children. The 4 major food allergies in children less than 18 years of age are peanut, milk, shellfish, and tree nuts. Most fatal food reactions occur with peanut and tree nuts. Severe food allergies are highest in the 14-17 year age group. Most food allergic reactions occur in the classroom, not the lunchroom!
Children with multiple food allergies have a three-fold increased risk of a severe reaction. Children with food allergies and asthma tend to have more severe reactions. Administration of an antihistamine (e.g. Benadryl), and delay of administration of epinephrine is the #1 error in treatment of severe food allergic reactions at school. In the event of a serious allergic reaction, follow three simple steps:
- Administer epinephrine immediately
- Call 911
- Contact the parents
When in doubt, administer epinephrine! There is NO absolute contraindication for epinephrine when treating anaphylaxis. Administering epinephrine in time will save someone’s life.