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Back to School with Allergies

Guideline to ensure the safety of children with asthma and allergies at school

August 1, 2009

By Janet Millan - Co-founder

Back to School is a welcome relief from the end of summer for most parents, but for those parents of children with severe life-threatening food allergies or asthma it is a source of stress and anxiety. In our school district there are no "standard" forms or guidelines that parents can fill out for the teachers or bus drivers outside of the standard medicine information forms. It is up to the parents to fill in the gaps and advocate action plans for their children.

As a parent of a severely allergic and asthmatic elementary school aged child, I have numerous medical releases to submit. Each medication must be up to date, a duplicate of what we have at home, which costs a small fortune. Multiple nebulizer machines are necessary for school, home and car.

Also needed is a picture ID to attach to his bag of medications bag, detailed instructions from the pharmacy, the doctor, and our ‘emergency action plan’ all have to be updated each school year. Our school’s nurse is wonderful and we have known her for many years, but substitutes nurses may not know him. It is at this gap where critical thinking and constant communication between our family and the school comes into play.

Because of the gaps of communication between school districts, teachers and transportation offices, we created a series of simple forms that anyone can print out. Parents can distribute them to any teacher, babysitter, or bus driver. The forms include spaces for important emergency telephone numbers, hospitals, doctors, parents cell phone numbers as well as an area to describe the type of reaction the child may have and any medications they carry in their backpacks. They are free and easy to use. We hope they help you this school year.

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