Allergies

SCHOOL-WIDE ANAPHYLAXIS PLAN

Overview
In our school, we have several children who are at risk for potentially lifethreatening allergies. Most are allergic to food and some children are at risk for insect sting allergies. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that involves one or more body systems. It can result from reactions to foods, insect stings, medications, latex or other substances. While rare, anaphylaxis can lead to death if untreated. Education and awareness is key to keeping students with potentially life-threatening allergies safe. Our school anaphylaxis plan is designed to ensure that children at risk are identified, strategies are put in place to minimize the potential for accidental exposure, and staff and key volunteers are trained to respond in an emergency situation.

Creating a Minimized Allergen School Environment
Individuals at risk of anaphylaxis must learn to avoid specific triggers. While the key responsibility lies with the individual and his/her family, the school community must also be aware. Special care is taken to avoid exposure to allergy-causing substances. Parents are asked to consult with the teacher before sending in food to classrooms where there are food-allergic children. The risk of accidental exposure to a food allergen can be significantly diminished by such measures.  Given that anaphylaxis can be triggered by minute amounts of an allergen when ingested, children with food allergies must be encouraged to follow certain guidelines:
• Eat only food brought from home unless it is packaged, clearly labeled and
approved by their parents.
• Wash hands before eating.
• Not share food, utensils or containers.
• Place food on a napkin or wax paper rather than in direct contact with a desk or table.

Identification of Children At Risk
At the time of registration, parents are asked about their child’s medical condition(s), including whether their child is at risk of anaphylaxis and asthma.
All staff must be aware of these children.  

It is the responsibility of the parent to:
• Inform the school principal of their child’s allergy and/or asthma.
• In a timely manner, complete the medical forms and the Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan, which includes a photograph, description of the child’s allergy, emergency procedure, contact information, and consent to administermedication. The Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan will be posted in key areas of the school, e.g. Health Room, Main Office, teacher’s daybook etc. Parental permission is required to post the child’s plan.
• Advise the school if their child has outgrown an allergy and no longer requires an epinephrine auto-injector (letter from allergist is required to support this statement).
• If possible, have the child wear a medical identification, e.g. MedicAlert bracelet. The identification could alert others to the child’s allergies and indicate that he/she carries an epinephrine auto-injector. Information accessed through a special number on the identification jewelry can also assist first responder, such as paramedics, to access important information quickly.
• Have their child at risk of anaphylaxis carry their auto-injector with them at all times and have a backup available in the school, usually in the main office.  Most children carry their own auto-injector and asthma inhaler.
• Provide additional auto-injectors if your child is going on a field trip. If the location is remote, the organizer of the field trip will carry a cell phone and know the location of the closest medical facility.

Emergency Protocol
An individual Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan must be signed by the child’s parent/guardian. The school cannot assume responsibility for treatment in theabsence of such a protocol. A copy of the Plan will be placed in designated areas such as the classroom, office, health room, etc.  Adults will listen to the concerns of the child who usually knows when he/she is  having a reaction, even before signs appear. It is not assumed that children will always be able to properly self-administer their auto-injector.  To respond effectively during an emergency, a routine has been established and practiced.  During an emergency:
• One person stays with the child at all times.
• One person goes for help or calls for help.
• Epinephrine is administered at the first sign of a reaction. Time of administration is noted. (The use of epinephrine for a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction will not harm a normally healthy child, if epinephrine is not required).
• Call 911. Have the child transported to an emergency room even if symptoms have subsided. Symptoms may recur hours after exposure to an allergen.
• One calm and familiar person must stay with the child until a parent/guardian arrives. If the child is being driven to hospital, another adult will accompany the driver to provide assistance to the child if necessary. The child’s backup epinephrine auto-injector will be taken along.
• Contact the child’s parents.

Training
Each year there will be training for staff, which includes an overview of anaphylaxis, signs and symptoms and a demonstration of the use of epinephrine.  Staff will practice using a training auto-injector. The Ministry of Education, in consultation with Anaphylaxis Canada, has developed an e-learning training program for school staff.  This may be accessed at  (http://dev.atelier.on.ca/cfmx/edu/anaphylaxis/index.cfm  Ideally, staff training will take place early in September and repeated again in February. Substitute teachers will be advised to review the Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan for children in their class. The principal/designate will speak with substitute teachers about the procedures for responding to emergency situations. Students will learn about anaphylaxis in an assembly or special class presentations.

Communication Plan
Ongoing communication about the school anaphylaxis plan is essential in creating awareness and support for our children at risk. The following are strategies our school uses to keep our families informed:
• Our plan will be posted on our school website and hard copy can be obtained on request.
• Reminders and updates about anaphylaxis will be published in our school newsletters.
• We encourage parents who have children who are anaphylactic to speak to classes about anaphylaxis.
• Teachers will inform parents if a child in the class has an allergic reaction to specific food(s) and request that parents be sensitive to this and refrain from
sending those food items to school for their child.
• Our school-wide plan will be reviewed on an annual basis and updated where needed.
• Although we cannot guarantee an allergen-free environment, we can all do our part to minimize the risks.






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