With Valentine’s Day around the corner, little boxes of chocolate can become a big threat for many parents. Children with food allergies have to be precautious during the school day, especially on Valentine’s Day. Various candies aren’t always labeled or separated from other candy that could have potential food allergens. In addition to the children and parents being precautious, teachers and school administrators need to be educated and prepared for an allergic reaction during the school day.
1) Know the causes
Parents with children who have food allergies have to worry about more than chocolate and what could be hidden inside the treats. Common anaphylaxis triggers include:
Certain Medications, especially penicillin; Foods, such as peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, pecans), fish, shellfish, milk and eggs; and Insect Stings from bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets and fire ants
2) Know the signs:
- Skin reactions, including hives along with itching, flushed or pale skin
- A feeling of warmth
- The sensation of a lump in your throat
- Constriction of the airways and a swollen tongue or throat; wheezing and trouble breathing
- A feeling of impending doom
- A weak and rapid pulse
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; Dizziness or fainting
3) Know how to treat:
Epinephrine auto-injectors can mean the difference between life and death for the child experiencing an allergic reaction. This is why ensuring schools have access to epinephrine pens is necessary to protecting our allergy-prone children. Federal legislators are working to create access for schools. Now is the time for state legislation to help protect our children too. Our goal should be to guarantee every child can participate in Valentine’s Day activities safely at school without having to miss out.