Back to School with Allergies

September 15, 2015
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With thousands of students in the Atlanta area heading back to school this fall, schools have created different techniques for handling students with allergies. Today, one in three children have allergies, and one in eleven students suffer from asthma. As a parent, it’s up to you to ensure that your children receive proper care should an emergency situation arise at school. Here are some tips on how to help your child have a safe and healthy school year.

First of all, make sure your school has the necessary documentation regarding your child’s medical condition. Every school is different, and you may need to fill out a district-wide form or a school specific form. If you’re visiting the doctor before school starts, have your physician sign off on the form. Once you’ve filed the proper paperwork, be sure to speak with school administrators and the school nurse in order to familiarize yourself with their emergency procedures. Make sure the staff knows how to use your child’s EpiPen or asthma inhaler, and check to make sure all medications are up-to-date.

Be sure to speak with your child’s teacher, coach, or even the bus driver to make sure they are aware of your child’s allergies. These individuals are your front line of defense, as they’re usually in daily contact with your child. If possible, meet with the cafeteria staff to inform them of your child’s allergens. However, most of the time, it’s best for children with severe allergies to bring their own food.

Finally, review your asthma or allergy action plans with your child. The start of a new school year is a great time to remind your child of the rules and medications. Allergists encourage patients to carefully follow their plan, especially during the first month of school where there is a marked increase of the common cold. However, with careful planning and dedication, allergy and asthma sufferers can enjoy a healthy school year.

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Dr. Chacko and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN. See the video here.