Many food-allergic college freshmen are busy preparing for their transition to life away from home.
To make sure all food allergy bases are covered, here’s a checklist of tasks that should be squared away before classes begin. These list items are recommended by Dr. David Stukus in an article published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:
- See your current allergist soon as possible to make sure your action plan is up-to-date, and ask for a referral to an allergist near the school. Obtain a copy of your recent office visits, plus any lab/allergy test results, and have medical records sent to the new allergist.
- Pack a current list of medications, your vaccination records, the name and phone number of a pharmacy near the college (have your prescriptions sent there), plus the location of hospitals and ER facilities that are near the school and take your insurance.
- Contact the college concerning their special accommodation policies and have them send you any required paperwork; ask about the possibility of prescreening roommates.
- Tour the school’s food preparation facilities if possible, and meet or talk with the chef to discuss food safety practices.
- A list of current allergens and foods you must avoid should be given to the school, the resident/housing assistants, and all roommates.
- Make sure you have at least two unexpired epinephrine auto-injectors to take with you—and carry them everywhere.
- Consider downloading apps that might help you manage your allergy, such as ContentChecked USA, AroundMe, AllergyEats, and AllergyManager.
"For most teens, going away to college marks their first time living independently," says Dr. Stukus. "In addition to moving to a new place, many must learn to manage their own schedule, diet, exercise and health.”
Having the items on this checklist completed prior to the first day of classes will make this transition to college less stressful, and allow those of you with food allergies to focus on the work, and fun, at hand.