Food Allergy Planning

By Robert Dillon

It seemed like any other day in middle school. The bell rang at 8:20 a.m. Mrs. Jones had decided to give her students a reward for their improved attendance last month during morning advisory time. She put cookies and soda on the desks when the students arrived. They were excited, and they thanked the teacher. It was a little gesture, but it had gone a long way.

Mrs. Jones’ next class entered, and Jimmy sat down. He swept his desk off of crumbs left over from the first period. As Jimmy started to write, something didn’t feel right. He was itchy and short of breath. He had dealt with asthma all of his life, so he figured that it would pass. Instead, things took a turn for the worse.

He knew that he had to get to the nurse, so he signaled for the teacher. He collapsed to the ground before he could get help. The principal and nurse arrived and recognized that Jimmy was in anaphylactic shock. They called 911 and hurried to recover Jimmy’s EpiPen® which saved his life.

For the moment, the crisis had been avoided. However, this school needed a better way to handle the growing population of students with life-threatening food allergies.

Incidents similar to this scenario, along with the growing data on food allergy incidents, has caused renewed alarm among parents, educators, legislators, and local health officials throughout the country about the need to develop school guidelines for managing the health needs of students with food allergies.

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