Back-to-School Action Plan: Living with Allergies

Living with Allergies and Going Back to School

As summer comes to an end, parents are preparing for the start of a new school year. For parents of children living with allergies, going back to school can be an especially stressful time.

Parents, typically, can best control their children’s exposure to allergens as well as recognize the first symptoms of an allergic reaction. At school, children are away from their parents’ watchful eye.

Kids With Food Allergies (KWFA) is a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the nation’s oldest and leading asthma and allergy not-for-profit organization. It is a dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of living with allergies through support, advocacy, education and research.

Both KFA and AAFA recommend that you take certain steps to prepare for each school year - including creating an allergy action plan - and work them into your back-to-school routine. The time you take to prepare can help prevent incidents; but if your child does have an allergic reaction, you can ensure that everyone knows what to do.

What is a Back-to-School Action Plan?

It’s a detailed plan that ensures the school understands exactly how to prevent exposures and treat symptoms of your child’s allergy. An action plan is critical to keeping any child with a severe allergy safe at school. You should also share the plan with teachers, school nurse, coaches, and babysitters so everyone is on the same page in helping keep your child safe.

Your action plan should include:

  1. Explicit details about the nature of your child’s allergy
  2. Additional information regarding your child’s health – especially if they have asthma, diabetes, or another medical condition that may impact treatment to an allergic reaction
  3. Exact symptoms to look for in case of an allergic reaction (include both severe and mild symptoms, in detail)
    • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
    • Itchy throat
    • Hives
    • Stomach pains
    • Swelling of tongue or lips
    • Weak pulse
    • Feeling faint
  4. Emergency response plan if your child suffers an allergic reaction at school or during extra-curricular
    • Call 911 first!
    • Specify if your child carries an auto-injector (i.e. EPIPEN), and include directions for use
    • Identify emergency contacts in case of an incident– parents and physician
  5. Medical Identification: your child should wear a bracelet, necklace, or shoe tag that clearly states their allergy

The goal of an Action Plan is to ensure that the school nurse, the child’s teachers and schools’ personnel are aware of your child’s allergy and know exactly what to do in the event of an allergic reaction. Which is why a MedicAlert bracelet is recommended as a necessary tool for anyone with an allergy.

MedicAlert Foundation and KFA share the same mission – to protect and save lives. Get the jump on the school year by working on your child’s Action Plan now.

Additional information to help you and your child prepare for school is available from FAACT, a leading food allergy awareness non-profit focusing on providing day to day support for children and families living with food allergies. Their resources on Planning for School: A Parent’s Guide cover everything from communicating with school personnel to advocating for your child’s rights to a safe learning environment.

How can MedicAlert help you?

MedicAlert is peace of mind, knowing that your child is protected during an allergic reaction.

With a MedicAlert ID and protection plan, your child’s medical history, allergy & anaphylaxis action plan and emergency info are stored, safe and secure, in their MedicAlert profile. So if they do experience an allergic reaction, MedicAlert will provide emergency personnel with the necessary information needed to provide safe and accurate care for your child.

How does it work?

Emergency response teams are trained to look for a MedicAlert ID. Should your child experience an allergic reaction, accessing the MedicAlert ID number on their bracelet or necklace will connect first responders to MedicAlert’s 24/7 Emergency Response service. When seconds count, MedicAlert will relay the the child’s critical medical history and list of emergency contacts, providing first responders with a detailed health record and action plan. MedicAlert will also notify designated emergency contacts of an incident, so you can be with your child in a moment of crisis.