How many children have had reactions at school

Posted on: Fri, 09/08/2000 - 4:36am
DMB's picture
DMB
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My son just started preschool this week. I had the meeting with his teachers and the director last week and they were more than willing to work with us to keep my son safe. They had a pa boy in school last year but he didn't require an epi-pen so that part of the allergy was new to them. The teachers really seemed to understand the severity of this allergy and I really think we covered everything (we'll bring our own snacks from home, no peanuts in the other children's snacks, no sharing food, epi-pen training, etc.). So after all this training that we do for our children's teachers, how many of your pa children have had reactions at school anyway? Was it from touch, ingestion, accidental, or from something completely unexpected? How was it handled? I'm completely aware that accidents do and will happen, but maybe if we share our stories then it can prevent that accident from happening to another child. Thanks, Deanna

Posted on: Mon, 09/11/2000 - 3:55am
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Since there are no responses to this question, hopefully that means that our educating the schools has paid off. It would be great to know that our children are staying safe at school even with a peanut allergy. So let's try this question. . . how long has your child been reaction-free at school? Were there any close calls? I guess I just want some reassurance that our children are able to stay safe even while they are at school. Thanks! Deanna

Posted on: Mon, 09/11/2000 - 4:41am
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I'm curious about this also. I have read that a lot of serious and fatal reactions occur in school. Usually this is because the school hasn't been informed of the problem and there are no safeguards in place. As much as principals may hate to see us coming in with our demands and special arrangements, they should thank the well-prepared parents because in the end we save them a lot of grief. Imagine how traumatic it could be for ALL the other kids in the class to witness an anaphylactic reaction (and this is a good thing to mention to other parents when persuading them to get on board with safeguards).

Posted on: Mon, 09/11/2000 - 6:07am
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My 5th grader has been pa since age 15 months--his last reaction was at age 2 1/2, we have had no problems at school. I give every teacher an introductory letter and a copy of the FAN teacher's guide to food allergies, I remind the nurse to give training to all back-up people who may have to administer the epi-pen, and I have my son rehearse over and over how to avoid contact in the lunch room and what to do if he feels he is having a reaction. We are extremely fortunate to have a principal who is behind us all the way as his son is severely pa too--I hope when my son goes to Middle School next year we can get the same level of cooperation.

Posted on: Mon, 09/11/2000 - 6:10am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

All of my son's known reactions to peanut products have been at his daycare. He first got peanut butter when he was in the infant room. I had specified that he was not to have it (didn't know at the time he was allergic), but he got some from the table. He immediately broke out in hives. I informed the daycare that he was allergic to peanut products and was not allowed to have any. They put it on their list.
When he transferred rooms at 13 months, that room gave him a peanut butter cracker (obviously didn't read the list or hear me). His reaction was worse, but Benadryl still took care of it.
Two weeks ago he moved rooms again, and this time his buddy offered him a peanut butter cracker. Being two years old, he will eat whatever he is given. He only got a bite, and the daycare immediately gave him Benadryl. (He was fine.)
I had another chat with the director who decided that making his class room completely peanut-free was the only way that they could protect him. Since my son is two and not able to take responsibility for his allergy, I do feel that is the best way to handle the situation.

Posted on: Mon, 09/11/2000 - 6:43am
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Joined: 03/23/2000 - 09:00

Well, I hope I won't be too longwinded. I have a fifth grader who has been diagnosed with PA at 8 months old. We have never had an exposure or at least never any kind of reaction. Since he started school, I have always written a detailed letter about the allergy, signs and symptoms, what to do, et cetera to all teachers and principals as well as school nurses. If he has a music teacher or an art teacher, I make sure one of my letters goes in their box. At lunchtime my son sits at the end of the table and does not sit by or across from anyone eating PB. If the other kids don't cooperate and let him sit at the end, I quietly have a talk with his teacher so that she (or he) can instruct the kids in a diplomatic way to have the kids with allergies sit at the end of the table. I try to have them keep the allergy thing kind of quiet and not so broadcasted, more as-a-matter-of-fact instead of making it a big deal, both for my son's sake and trying not to focus other kids' attention on the allergy (that's a whole other story)
One of the things I did while Matt was in pre-school through 1st grade was write on all his T-shirts "Please do not feed me, I'm allergic." I thought it worked well when he was younger and people would hand out foods or candy to the little kids. I had just seen that no matter how much you remind people not to feed him, they just plain forgot. Some parent even handed him peanuts on a field trip! So, not to fault her, but if it's not your kid, you just don't always remember, even if it's life-threatening. I go on all field trips because of his allergy, so that I can carry the meds in case of emergency, and because sometimes it has been necessary to watch him (a ball game with peanut shells flying all around us). So I am really extremely careful. School and daycare have two Epi-pens, full instructions, Benadryl, adn I do remind them throughout the year about his allergy just to keep them on their toes. All I know is I've done the best I can to educate my son, the school, daycare and whomever else he comes into contact with. I wish I could say I feel completely at ease with everything but I don't. i do worry every day. But I do know I've done everything that I can. I also pray a lot, too.
Hope your children do as well as Matt has done, and off to middle school for another re-education, et cetera! Yikes!

Posted on: Fri, 09/29/2000 - 12:27pm
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I thought I would bring this strand back to the top since the topic has come back again. My son is almost 9 and has made it through two years of preschool and over 3 years of elementary school without a reaction in school. I send all his food. He eats with other children at a regular lunch table, eats his snack in the classroom while others are eating, and plays on the playground.

Posted on: Fri, 09/29/2000 - 2:26pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

We were thinking the same thing to-day except I started my thread under Living with Peanut Allergy - How Many Reactions has your Child Had at School? So, you might like to cross-reference with that thread to get some other input. My son is just starting his 2nd year of school, he is nearly 5, and so far he has never had a reaction at school. He is in a "peanut free" classroom. From the material I've read, I've also read that most reactions happen at school. I'm quite concerned about it too! Best wishes.
------------------

Posted on: Sat, 09/30/2000 - 1:34am
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My daughter just started kindergarten in a school that is not peanut free. They do have a pnut free table in the lunchroom but it is next to a table that is not, and the kids do eat PB there. She has had two minor reactions in just 4 weeks of school! She had none in preschool. Both reactions were the same, happened at the playground where they go after lunch. It only involved a red, itchy, puffy eye and lots of sneezing. Only the first time, Benadryl was given, the second time, she was given a cold compress and it seemed to have eased it (according to the nurse). But, I'm nervous every day I send my little girl to school. I go in to be with her at lunch and twice I've gotten kids at her table with PB or nut products. I understand these are only kindergartners and they don't know any better yet, and they all want to sit at "Megan's" table, but I feel I have to check their lunches every day.
Then there was the episode where a little girl in her class that had a PBJ sandwich. I sent in antibacterial wipes so the kids who do have PB can wipe down their hands on their way from the lunchroom to the classroom, where they will thoroughly wash their hands. Well, this little girl sits at the same table in class right next to my daughter. She forgot to wipe her face and the PB was all over her face. She realized this, then wiped the PB off her face with her hands, then wiped her hands on her shirt, then finished wiping her face with her shirt. The PB was all over her shirt! I told the teacher and they tried to get her to change her shirt, but she wouldn't, so they told me they made her sit at a table away from my daughter. But, the worry went on all day for me.
I think the risk of a reaction is higher in school, at least at my daughter's, because there are just so many kids (it goes from Grades preschool-Grade 5) in that lunch room. It's hard to keep an eye on everyone. That's why I go everyday, to at least keep an eye on my daughter and those kids around her. I do wish the classroom would not allow any pnut/nut snacks, but so far that has not happened. My daughter is not the only child in the school with food allergies, but she is the only one in kindergarten so far. So the school's attitude is, "we know what we are doing". But, I don't agree. I understand you can't control what kids bring from home for lunch, but you don't have to add to the situation by selling PBJ sandwiches, Nutty Buddy Bars, PB cookies which they bake right there, and PB spread for the bagels. I think kids can do without that stuff. There are so many other things to eat. I know the non-PA parents don't agree with me, but I also have non-PA kids and I have found alternatives.
I'm sorry for the long post....just need to vent I guess. Thanks for letting me!

Posted on: Sun, 10/01/2000 - 4:23am
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Linda-Jo, I justed wanted to share with you what we have done at my daughter's school. In the caf., she sits with the kids who buy their lunch, unless they buy a pb&j sand. If a child who packs their lunch wants to sit with my daughter, they must have a letter from their parent stating that their lunch is nut-free. They didn't feel comfortable checking lunches. They have removed all nut items from the menu except pb&j sandwiches. They weren't willing to go that far yet (they may in the future if they need to) but this way they minimize the risk. Then, after lunch, the school nurse has all of the kids in her class use a wipe for their hands and face, and she goes to recess with them. That way, if a reaction would occur, the nurse would be right there. Hope this helps.
[This message has been edited by CarolynM (edited October 01, 2000).]

Posted on: Mon, 10/02/2000 - 12:07am
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Joined: 07/30/1999 - 09:00

CarolynM,
Thanks for sharing how you handle PB at your daughter's school. Those are some great ideas! I have to add that her teacher is very cooperative in this situation and is even more concerned than me, if that seems possible! She is taking every precaution as well, but has to run everything by the principal and I think that is where my roadblock is. I agree with you. I think they should remove all the nut items from the cafeteria menu for the safety of all the food-allergic kids (I understand there are 6 in the whole school). But, they keep reassuring me they have not had an episode yet where they had to use an Epi, only minor reactions. Probably from the cross-contaminaton of it all! If they just got rid of it all, there wouldn't even be those minor reactions! Ugh!
Thanks again!

Posted on: Mon, 10/02/2000 - 3:16am
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Linda-Jo, I am surprised they are taking the minor reactions lightly. I would think that any reaction at all would make them change their action plan. One person who has been helpful to me is the district school nurse. She has really been an advocate for my daughter, and the principal listens to her!

Posted on: Tue, 10/03/2000 - 11:34am
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Joined: 02/29/2000 - 09:00

FYI- There is an article on [url="http://www.foodallergy.org"]www.foodallergy.org[/url] that gives statistics on reactions in the class room.It is informative ,short and to the point. Once on the site go to the research page and you will find it there.I hope this helps.
Mindy

Posted on: Wed, 10/04/2000 - 6:43am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

My PA son (diagnosed at 15 months) is now 6, and has one reaction at school, in a supposedly peanut-free classroom. When he was in preschool, a little girl's baby sitter "forgot" and gave her peanut butter filled pretzels for dessert. Either they touched the table, or the PB got on her hands - who knows. Fortunately, the reaction was mild - just some very swollen, itchy, hivey hands. No problems since.

Posted on: Wed, 10/18/2000 - 1:58pm
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Joined: 03/01/2000 - 09:00

DMB....Since there are varying levels of sensitivity to p.a., it is difficult to ascertain from other people's experiences whether your child will be safe at school. Your child's level of sensitivity may be much more severe than those who responded to this question. I wouldn't assume a lack of response to your question means that all our efforts have paid off and some schools are well educated on this subject. Though it is encouraging to hear stories of only mild reactions such as the above, I would caution anyone with a p.a. child to ask yourself the following questions: a) How allergic is your child? If airborne and casual contact allergic, it is a whole different ball game. b) How receptive/knowledgeable/trained is the school re. life-threatening food allergies? c) Do you trust them?
Now for a not so encouraging story. I took my child on a field trip to a new hospital. When I informed the ER staff re. my child's p.a., they preceded to tell me about a case just a couple weeks earlier where a child at school was exposed to peanuts and was in the hospital for weeks. Survived but was touch and go for two weeks. They did not think the child was going to make it. Wow! I wasn't expecting to hear that. Considering 90% of fatal food allergy reactions occur at school in young children, it shouldn't have surprised me. I later called some of the private schools to get a feel for how they handle this allergy. One school informed me that they at one time had a student as allergic as my daughter and almost made it without a serious incident until one day the teacher ate a peanut butter cookie (didn't wash her hands) and passed out homework papers. The student had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital. Our allergic doc. has named patients of his by name that died from exposure at school. He feels that teachers are often slow to react (afraid to use the Epi-pen, just want to wait and see how bad it gets. In my child's case, this could mean death).. I don't mean to sound discouraging...Just evaluate your school closely, your child individually, then determine the risk factor. You might be interested in other comments by doing a search under the School section or Reactions section. Many don't post a response on something they have already discussed.
[This message has been edited by FromTheSouth (edited October 19, 2000).]
[This message has been edited by FromTheSouth (edited October 19, 2000).]

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