Fall has officially arrived. While you may be happy to see your child back in class, you also have a lot to do to prepare them for the beginning of the school year. Amid buying backpacks and picking up pencils, don’t neglect to have your kids tested for child allergies.
Protecting their children is part of any parent’s job, but it is simply impossible to watch your child at every moment. Food allergies are an ever-present threat, especially at school.
#1 Food Allergies Are More Prevalent Than Ever
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that food allergies among children are on the rise in a major way. There was an 18% increase in childhood food allergies in the decade between 1997 and 2007 alone. The CDC has also stated that 88% of US schools had at least one student with food allergies in 2006. Today, that number is close to 100%.
Let’s take a look at the most common food allergies, accounting for more than 90% of severe allergic reactions to food in the US:
- Shellfish (crustaceans)
- Tree Nuts
Most of these foods can often be found in schools, either in the school cafeteria or in lunches that students bring from home. Fortunately, Arkansas Allergy and Asthma Clinic provide testing for all these food allergies.
#2 Childhood Allergies Can Develop Suddenly – Even to Foods Your Child has Previously Safely Eaten
Food allergies can appear out of nowhere. According to the CDC, one-quarter of all serious allergic reactions to food in schools occurred in children with no prior allergy symptoms. A child with no previous food allergy symptoms may suddenly become sensitive or even highly allergic to a food they’ve previously consumed with no problems. Also, your child may be around foods they’ve never eaten before in the school lunchroom or their friends’ lunch boxes.
#3 An Action Plan Only Works if You Know You Need One
Peanuts and tree nuts are the main culprits of severe food allergies. Fact is that peanuts are responsible for over half of life-threatening allergic reactions. A condition called anaphylaxis, also known as anaphylactic shock, is the most extreme allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis symptoms may include facial and neck swelling, difficulty breathing, and altered heart rate. Without quick intervention, anaphylaxis can lead to death within minutes.
Most schools have resources to address food allergies, and many teachers have training in the use of epinephrine to treat allergic reactions. The CDC has even issued voluntary guidelines for managing food allergies in schools. But the key word here is “voluntary”.
Despite the best efforts of teachers and other school staff, your peanut-allergic child may still encounter peanuts or peanut products. You need a treatment plan for home and school. But to have a peanut allergy treatment plan in place for your child, you must be aware that they have an allergy in the first place.
#4 Allergy Testing Isn’t That Bad!
Many parents and children don’t know what to expect from an allergy test. The good news is that allergy testing is minimally invasive. The professionals at Arkansas Allergy and Asthma clinic are always sure to be extra gentle and caring with their little patients.
Many times, your child can undergo a skin test for allergies. This test uses a weakened allergen to provoke a mild skin reaction. The test only takes around 20 minutes. In other cases, your allergist may need to take a blood sample for laboratory analysis. This procedure only draws a small amount of blood, and there is minimal discomfort.
Make certain you have the knowledge to help safeguard your child’s health. Request an appointment at (877) 959-4671 to check your child for allergies at the Arkansas Allergy and Asthma Clinic in their Little Rock or Conway locations.