Life Threatening Food Allergies in Schools and Educational Programs - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Life Threatening Food Allergies in Schools and Educational Programs


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Title: Life Threatening Food Allergies in Schools and Educational Programs

Life Threatening Food Allergies in Schools and
Educational Programs
  • Why We Need State Mandated Guidelines
  • Suzette Cyr, RN, BSN
  • Jennifer Kelley, RN BSN
  • Jeremy Beaulieu, RN, BSN

What is a Food Allergy?
  • When the bodys immune system mistakenly believes
    a harmless substance is harmful to the body. It
    tries to protect the body by releasing histamines
    and IgE antibodies to attack the substance.

Food Allergy Response
  • Chemical triggers like histamine and IgE
    antibodies are released in response to an
    allergen and can cause allergic reactions with a
    variety of symptoms
  • Symptoms may vary from person to person and not
    all reactions appear the same

Histamine Reaction
Symptom Reactions
  • Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Severe,
    life- threatening reactions are called
  • 40-50 of people diagnosed with food allergies
    are judged to have a high risk of anaphylaxis.

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis
  • Tingling sensation in the mouth
  • Swelling of the tongue and throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death (in rare cases)

Common Food Allergies
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

Food Allergy Statistics
  • There is no cure for food allergies. Strict
    avoidance of food allergens and early recognition
    and management of allergic reactions to food are
    important measures to prevent serious health
  • More than 12 million Americans have food
    allergies. Thats one in 25, or 4 percent of the
  • Approximately 2 million school-age children (ages
    5-17) have food allergies in the U.S.
  • The CDC reported an average of 317,000 food
    allergy-related ambulatory care visits per year
    to emergency and outpatient departments and
    physicians offices for children under the age of

Food Allergy Statistics
  • In two published studies addressing fatal food
    anaphylactic reactions, more than half (59) of
    the individuals were age 19 or younger.
  • In a study of 13 food allergy-induced
    anaphylactic reactions in school-age children,
    four of the six fatal reactions occurred in a
    school-type setting.

Why Should Schools and Educational Programs Be
Prepared to Address Food Allergies?
  • Schools and educational programs have a
    responsibility for the health and safety of
    children under their care.
  • First food allergy reactions often occur in these
  • Fatalities can result from delaying
    administration of epinephrine and providing
    effective emergency care
  • Food allergies could be a complicating factor
    when dealing with other conditions (i.e. asthma).
  • Children with food allergies have unique social
    and emotional challenges.
  • NSBAs School Health Programs (2010). Food
    Allergies and Schools Keeping students safe and
    ready to learn. Powerpoint Slides. Retrieved
    from http//

What is Currently in Place for Maines
Educational Programs?
  • Department of Education Manual of Policies
  • Defines the role of school nurse
  • Forms for food allergy action plans
  • Student assessment form for epi-pen use
  • 504 plans are implemented in schools for
    health/safety/environmental modifications
    necessary for students with disabilities
  • State policy supports students right to carry
    and self-administer prescribed asthma/allergy/anap
    hylaxis medications in schools

Issues That Need to Be Addressed in Maine Schools
  • Quality of training/education provided to staff
    caring for children with food allergies
  • Assessment of signs and symptoms of reaction and
    potential for anaphylaxis
  • Assessment of signs and symptoms of children with
    asthma and other co-morbidities
  • Competency of staff and their knowledge of food
    allergies (i.e. safety, prevention, food
    handling, recognizing symptoms, and responding to

Issues That Need to Be Addressed in Maine Schools
  • Schools responsibility toward understanding
    social and emotional challenges of children with
    food allergies
  • Importance of disseminating general educational
    information on food allergies to staff, parents,
    and children
  • Information provided to parents about prepared
    food ingredients, food preparation, and cleaning

Lack of Consistency in Maine Schools
  • A review of several schools found the following
  • Scarborough Written regulations regarding
    students diagnosed with food allergies/sensitiviti
    es (adopted 9/3/09)
  • SAD 6 No written policy verbal guidelines exist
  • Auburn No written policy follow state
    department of education guidelines for school
  • Portland No written policy could be located

Problems With Relying Only On 504 Plans
  • Plans are individualized, therefore there are no
    standardized guidelines for managing allergic
    reactions and assisting parents with developing
    plans based on childs needs
  • Stigmatization may prevent parents from making
    requests for their childs needs to schools

What Needs to Be Done
  • Legislation with mandated guidelines for managing
    life threatening food allergy reactions in
    school/educational settings.
  • A collaborative training approach involving
    school staff and services to identify and monitor
    students with food allergies, established health
    care plans, and emergency care plans

What Needs to Be Done
  • Establish written emergency protocols to prepare
    for and respond to food allergy emergencies
  • Implement practices that minimize exposure to

Resources Available for Funding State Mandated
  • FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (2010)
  • Section 112 Food allergy and anaphylaxis
  • Establishment of voluntary food allergy and
    anaphylaxis guidelines
  • Local and state agencies can receive grants for
    developing school-based food allergy management
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