Schools across the country are seeing an increase in students who have life-threatening allergies. This means that school nurses and other educational professionals must be aware of which allergies kids in their classes have on any given day. Often, schools have a no-food policy in the classroom to combat food sensitivities. In addition to this, many school cafeterias have a peanut-free and tree nut-free table area.
Food is not the only concern. Some children are deathly allergic to insect stings. A wasp, bee, or hornet in the classroom means getting them out. When kids go outside, school professionals must know the potential if they are stung. Most children who are allergic must carry epinephrine-based injectibles with them. While they may be able to administer it to themselves, it is helpful for all adults in the school building to be trained as well. When minutes matter, it is not always realistic to wait for the school nurse. A protocol needs to be set for teachers or other staff members to administer the medication and alert the nurse immediately.
School nurses must make sure that families give all information regarding allergies to them at the start of the school year. If there are medications which need to be taken at the sign of hives, itchiness, or breathing troubles, they need to be in school. Depending on the state, a note from the doctor on how to administer it will be included. Then, they must determine where the medications are stored and how to administer something like an epinephrine injectable with a student.
In addition to this, school nurses must be given a heads-up when students are trying different types of allergy therapy. This may include allergy shots and also newer immune-based therapies. These therapies combine probiotics with increasing amounts of peanuts fed to the child who is allergic to them. This appears to help the child’s body to accept the peanut allergen. The hope is that this will reduce the risk of anaphylactic reactions to peanuts and possibly other food allergies. After receiving this therapy, it could alter the treatment course noted at school. Because of this, it is especially important to remind those at home to alert the school nurse when there is a treatment change.