It’s that special time of year when an uncomfortable kind of school food allergy anxiousness can creep in and settle down in the in back of your mind. Sometimes it festers and keeps a dark shadow hanging over summer. Other times is evaporates as if it never existed until the gut-wrenching panic hits two weeks before school starts when you can’t reach any of the people you need to work with to create school safe protocol. Or, it can be a smooth sailing end of the school year as you head off into the lazy days of summer.
To help you say goodbye to backpacks and packed lunches, and hello to summer while feeling confident about the upcoming school year, here are my family’s top seven must-happen items. Please take this list and make it your own, by scratching off items that don’t work for your family and adding a few others! My hope is to be part of this wonderful information sharing community!
7 End-of-School Must Do’s when managing life-threatening food allergies
Review the upcoming year and start pre-planning. Look ahead to see if there are any physical/logistical areas which might require little pre-planning. Such as moving from elementary school to middle school, or your child riding the school bus. Ask yourself, what new protocol needs to be discussed or established.
Honestly look at your child for new opportunities to for independence or growth. Will your child be able to self-carry their rescue medications this year? Are they ready for new challenges? Can they take the lead in explaining why they are bringing their own treat to the party? Can you role play with your teen how to explain to friends why they prefer one restaurant over another?
Complete all forms. Become the wizard of documentation and completing all forms required by your child’s school or yourself. We advocate for packing food allergy and anaphylaxis emergency care plans in the same carrier with rescue medications. Some schools require documents to be signed by your child’s doctor, so do a little investigation to confirm if you need to make a doctor’s appointment to get forms signed.
Update Medical ID Bracelets or jewelry. Confession: my son finally is ready for a new Medic Alert bracelet and we realized it still states his former dairy and egg allergy! Whoops.
Secure all necessary meetings. If possible, hold your 504 meeting before school ends. Often, parents do not know who their child’s teacher will be until two days before the beginning of school, which is how my school district operates. If you are unable to schedule 504 meeting now, ask about establishing a meeting prior to the first day of school to discuss accommodations, environment, parties, field trips and any event, program or project which might engagement your child’s allergens.
Get those prescriptions filled sooner than later! Currently, there is a spotty shortage of EpiPens and the generic to the Adrenaclick epinephrine-auto-injectors. Auvi-Q appears to have no issues filling prescriptions through their direct order program. Mylan is encouraging those seeking EpiPens to contact them for assistance in finding the device in your town. Allergic Living Magazine is monitoring the situation and offers up-to-date information on the situation.
Think ahead to how you will address parties, after-school activities, and social events. Does your child need an adult present to confirm safe foods? Is your student old enough to self-manage, but needs a list of safe foods they can share with friends, teachers, and coaches? If your older child travels for sports, debate, etc., what restaurants can they eat at or should they bring their own food, if so, how do you keep it cold or warm?
Pre-planning management of food allergies, asthma or other conditions opens the door for summer fun!
These are just a few items to hopefully get your mind moving to create some great solutions to lay down the path for a successful school year. For me, the most important key is to remember each year will be different and sometimes the year from hell can be followed by the best year ever and vice versa. Be fluid and ready to tackle whatever comes your way. By seeking out food allergy conversation, I already know you are one step ahead and looking for solutions.
What will be your End-of-School Must do’s?
Have a wonderful summer!
Disclaimer: These tips are simply what works for my family. Each child and adult managing any health condition is unique and it is best to speak to your doctor and other healthcare professionals to establish the right protocol and plans for your family.