Beginning of School

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Today is the day my wife registers our children in school here in Texas. I can't believe school starts this Monday. She has the process down for our PA daughters.

1. Fresh epi-pens for the school nurse with a very detailed discussion of the seriousness of the allergy. She said the same thing last year, but she doesn't mind repeating it.

2. Discussion about the allergy with each of our daughter's teachers.

3. Snack bag of PA ok candy for the homeroom teacher for when other students bring snacks for the class and our daughters can't participate. (cupcakes for a birthday, etc.)

4. Very important- Advanced notice from the Home Economics teacher whenever they will be using peanut products as our daughters will be absent that day. They can't even be on the same end of the hall because of airborn peanut products.

We are really getting use to the PA thing. The key for us is to be consistent over the years and let the school know we have a zero tolerance for any peanut products around our girls.

On Aug 1, 2000

Hi I just read your detailed plans for school. I am just wondering if your school serves peanut butter in the lunch room? If they do then do what do you do about that? Claire

On Aug 2, 2000

Our kids have been bringing their lunch for years. At first they started eating in the cafeteria, but we realized we had no control over what was being served.

Bringing lunch was the safest thing to do.

On Aug 2, 2000

I hope everything is going well at school. I assume your kids are not too young. How do they handle things in the lunch room? Do they just sit with a few trusted friends each day? Also, do you have a 504 plan? I live in Texas also, and I am not having much luck getting a plan in action. Have you found this difficult also?

On Aug 2, 2000

We do have a 504 plan which allows our children to get a direct route to the emergency room from school. It cuts out the red tape to get from school to the hospital.

Our PA girls are 14 and 11. They usually sit with their friends during lunch and their friends do not eat any peanut products around them. My girls know to move to another seat if someone beside them is having peanut butter or other peanut products.

Please forgive me if I brag on our children, but they have been the best ones to watch out for peanut products both at school and home. They have really developed an awareness over the years. My wife brings up a close second on peanut awareness and TheDaddy brings up the rear on this...

On Aug 2, 2000

Just wondering if you used any type of letter sent home to fellow students parents over the years to inform them of the severity of peanut allergy? My son is also insulin dependent/diabetic so he some times has a tough time with all the extra attention brought his way. I'm looking for a general, yet very effective way to educate the parents in our school. Some will always see an allergy as a sneezing type of thing--not life threatenings-as it actually is. Do you have any pointers in informing new classmates/parents/teachers/administrators?!! Thanks, Sharon

On Aug 2, 2000

Thank you. I will continue to press for a 504. You must be very proud of your family. I am sure they will have a wonderful year!

On Aug 3, 2000

You mentioned that your children were smell sensitive. They are at the age now where they can be very responsible for their allergy, but what did you do as far as their lunch time when they were younger? At that age were they able to keep themselves safe from the smell of peanut butter? (My son is also smell sensitive and my biggest concern is lunchtime and all the peanut butter sandwiches in cold lunches. They will be setting aside a peanut free table for him but I am not sure that that will keep him far enough away from being able to smell peanut butter.)

On Aug 3, 2000

I always sent my son in with his own lunch and always made sure he did not have a lunch box like any other child because of possibly grabbing the wrong one at lunch time. Also the teachers always let him seperate his lunch box from others. We always let him bring in a special goody bag for himself at party time. Not only was this safe but it was fun time with him to decorate a bag and bake special treats with us. good luck. Now at 14 he still brings his own stuff,but of course the goody decorations are gone. I miss that to tell you the truth. claire

On Aug 3, 2000

Just sitting at another table during lunch has been fine for our girls. We have found the peanut butter smell is not as bad as places that cook with peanut oil. Our girls are highly allergic to airborn peanut products.

If we go into a seafood restaurant and ask what oil they use, my girls will be having breathing problems before they can get back to tell us they use peanut oil.

A big problem is when the Home Economics class cooks with peanut butter and smells up the classrooms and hallways on that wing of the building.

On Aug 3, 2000

What happens to your daughters when they smell the cooking peanut butter at school? Do they only have breathing problems, then use an inhaler? Do they go to the nurse to be observed? I don't understand why schools continue to cook with peanut butter! Can't they use something else?! Have they had any serious reactions at school? I am considering picking my kids up from lunch each day, but really think this might isolate them. I have been homeschooling my 10 year old daughter, and my 6 year old son was just diagnosed last week. I hope to be as confident as you one day.

On Aug 3, 2000

Hello Michelle, My wife prepares a "PA" pack for the school with an epi-pen and inhaler. She also marks down on our family calender the expiration dates because they probably won't keep up with it at school. It is our responsibility.

The cooking with peanut butter problem was in middle school (up to 8th grade). My wife had a very serious talk with the Home Economics teacher to let us know if any peanut products are going to be used. My daughter also checked with her on a regular basis just so she wouldn't forget.

When my girls do smell peanut oil fumes, we use the inhaler. They have not had to go to the hospital. They have not had this problem at school because they know to keep checking. After around ten to eleven years old, they are our best checkers of all.

Lunch time at school has really not been a problem. The cafeteria doesn't cook with peanut products and my girls just don't sit beside anyone eating peanut butter, candy, etc.

I would think it would be difficult picking them up for lunch because around here they only get thirty minutes total to eat. Just start explaining the life threatening consequences of this allergy with the home room teacher first, nurse second, and anyone else you think should know. If you aren't sure if a particular teacher or coach should know, tell them. We have never had a teacher take this lightly.

On Aug 3, 2000

Tha Daddy-Thank you so much! You have given me a little more confidence. I will let them eat in the cafeteria as long as everything goes okay. I will have them use their inhalers before lunch in case they smell any peanut butter. I have talked to the district nutrition department and they do cook peanut butter cookies some days. I will handle this like you all did the home economics class. Hopefully, they will let me know ahead of time. However, I still can not understand why they can not find something else to cook!

On Aug 7, 2000

My child became ill "immediately" after entering a room where "one" person ate "one" peanut butter Reese's cup "2 hours" earlier. See my story under "Reactions". She became ill twice after going to a local farmer's market right after getting out of the car (sold and boiled peanuts, of course, we didn't know). Doubled over with stomach cramps, face swelling after walking in the same cafeteria where peanut butter pine cones/bird seed were made (didn't touch anything!). Began sneezing uncontrollably after standing next to a group of children at a museum (right after lunch). I can not see a child in the early elementary years, who has a life-threating, airborne, casual contact p.a., safely eating in a cafeteria that daily serves/cooks with peanut products or has other students doing so. Peanut-free zone or not.... it gets airborne...too much potential residue...Just my opinion... I am concerned the school would get so used to the daily sneezing, face swelling would not recognize/treat a severe reaction promptly. Her doctor has even told us the school must provide a nut-free zone at all times/all day and classmates must also refrain from nut products. Yes, you guessed it, we homeschool.

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