School parties as well as community events have an abundance of food and sweet treats which can present dangers for those with food allergies.
“One in three parents report their children with life-threatening food allergies have experienced anaphylaxis on Valentine's Day”, according to a new study by Mylan Specialty.
This is a scary statistic and a reminder that we have to remain vigilant every day.
Here are some tips to safely navigate through Valentine's Day.
- Always carry a two-pack of epinephrine with you at all times and make sure it hasn't expired.
- Check your emergency allergy action plan and make sure it is up to date.
- Make sure teachers and caregivers know the symptoms of an allergic reaction, are on alert and are prepared to react in the event of a reaction.
- Ask questions in advance of the party and find out what kinds of food and treats will be served, if any.
- For treats brought to school, be sure they have the label with allergens listed.
- For classroom Valentine exchanges, offer non-food related treats like pencils, erasers, finger puppets, stickers, and more penny exchange type items.
- Valentine's Day candy can be made in a different facility than regular candy of the same brand which poses a risk for cross contamination. Always read the label. If there is no label on the individual treat, then assume it is not safe for your child.
- If treats will be exchanged, check if the teacher will be sending home candy or if they will be eating in the classroom.
- Suggest a craft or game be played instead of focusing on food to celebrate the holiday.
- Volunteer to come in if there is a party and help with the party.
- Keep safe snacks in supply in the classroom (this helps for birthdays as well).
My daughter's teacher is not having a party in the classroom. I am providing nut-free mini-cupcakes for a small treat and the students will be exchanging Valentines to take home and open after school where I can check them. My daughter knows not to open her bag until we can look through it when she gets home.
Valentine's Day can be fun for kids with food allergies – you need to take extra precautions and plan ahead.
Kids with Food Allergies http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org
Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) http://www.foodallergy.org
Post by Jenni Hilton