With the second week in August coming to an end, the school year is quickly approaching for all of us, or may have even started. Currently, the hottest topic in the allergy world is how to best prepare for going back to school. From an adult-with-allergies perspective, the change from internship preparedness to back-to-campus-ready doesn’t require a huge mindset shift. My Auvi-Qs move from my work tote bag to my backpack and I’m ready to go.
For younger kids, though, the shift from summer vacation to school can be rough. Grade school and high school students will no longer be hanging at home or the pool. Instead, early morning alarms, packed lunches, homework, and extra curricular activities will takeover the weekday regimen. If you are a student with food allergies, you likely will be meeting new teachers who don’t know a lot about your allergies or story.
Many articles offer tips to parents and kids regarding how to stay as prepared as possible for the new school year. While it can be tricky or scary, some planning and important conversations can be beneficial for the start to the new year. Here are some of my own tips to share.
- Have a conversation with your teacher, school nurse, and lunchroom monitor. In my grade school and high school, my school nurse held my medications in her office – both Benadryl and Epis. By the time I was in high school, I was also carrying additional Epis in my backpack. (I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have a grade schooler carrying Epis, too. Timing is everything). Your teacher will spend the most time with you or your child, so it is key that she fully understands the extent of your allergies. I don’t think people always think of the lunchroom monitor or lunch lady, but it’s important for them to learn how to use an EpiPen. I trained my high school lunch chef how to use one during my senior year!! Make the school nurse your advocate! Develop a relationship with this key caregiver!
- Know your limitations with food. When someone brings in a classroom treat, it’s usually best to just say no. Plus, it’s a great excuse to talk your parents into an awesome after-school snack if you miss the school treat! As a parent, remind your child about the importance of being safe. Rather than saying no to treats, supply allergy-friendly treats that the teacher can offer when unsafe goodies are in the classroom.
- Pack your lunch! Avoid the cafeteria lines and risk of cross-contamination by bringing your own meals. Healthier and safer! I am always an avid lunch-packer. The key is to make lunches creative while keeping them allergy-friendly.
- For more tips and tricks, here and here are some of the better articles I’ve found.
Here are some of my best first day of school pics since being in college. 🙂
Here’s to a healthy and safe school year for all of us!