Food Allergies In Children

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Controlling/Monitoring Food Allergies in Children: A Rising Concern
A growing concern, the number of food allergens among individuals account for approximately 30,000 anaphylactic reactions as well as 200 deaths per year in the United States (Jackson, 2002). Food allergies are common, but can be fatal if proper action is not implemented or knowledge is not understood beforehand. “Food allergy is defined as an adverse health effect arising from a specific immune response that occurs reproducibly on exposure to a specific food,” (Gupta, Dyer, Jain, & Greenhawt, 2013). In other words, one’s body misconstrues the food to be harmful, therefore will respond by producing an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is characterized by a severe allergic reaction
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Many food allergies typically begin at an early age, stressing the importance of understanding food allergies and their affects, keying in strictly on children. Approximately 1 in 13 children across the United States are affected by food allergies at some point in their lifetime (Wahl, Stephens, Ruffo, & Jones, 2015). For example, 31.5% of children ages 0-2, who cannot control who gives them what when they are away from their parents, are allergic to milk (Dyer & Gupta, 2013). This could cause problems for parents, caregivers, and schools if not properly warned of the child’s allergy as well as understand how to go about such. Knowing the approximate, overall percentages of different aged children and their main food group allergen and understanding such allows for better management and stricter, more effective policies to prevent these food allergens from affecting a child’s…show more content…
“A study of practices in Michigan schools found significant needs regarding staff education and policy development around the growing problem of life-threatening food allergies” (Sheetz et al., 2004). It was found that more than one-half of the schools that offered education actually depended on parents of children with food allergies to educate the staff, with no formal plan to provide school-wide education (Sheetz et al., 2004). This is why it is extremely important to build a team, consisting of school nurses, pediatricians, staff, parents, teachers, administrators, and anyone else involved and thus leaving it up to the specific team to manage such conditions. This team should be required to attend a forum on the specifics, such as how to administer epinephrine if needed, if a nurse is not available. Having informational meetings, clearing up misconceptions, answering questions, as well as informing everyone of the allergies present in the specific school should allow everyone to be involved and feel comfortable in themselves to be able to administer action if necessary (Food Allergy Research & Education,
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