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School and Allergies, Asthma

It’s Off (Gulp) to Kindergarten

As I added mouse traps to the growing list of what I thought to be high-risk situations, my own reality check began to set in. I started to question whether I was losing sleep over the wrong things. For instance, just how likely would it be for my 4-year-old to touch a mouse trap containing peanut butter and have a serious allergic reaction?

I reminded myself of what my son’s allergist had said: While anaphylaxis has the potential to cause death, fatalities are rare. What seemed more productive than stewing over “what-ifs” was minimizing the risks at school.

While casual exposure to peanut could be an issue, I realized that Julian’s chances of staying safe would increase if I focused more on two things. The first was conditioning him to follow key rules (no sharing food with others, always carry your auto-injector), and the second was getting the school to formalize its anaphylaxis plan, ensuring that staff were trained and that the school community was aware of the food policies.

I felt the school community would be willing to help as long as I asked for accommodations that were reasonable. To do this, I needed to calm down.

Victor and friends whose kids did not have food allergies acted as my sounding board on the school communications I drafted for the principal. With their feedback, I learned to write succinctly, and in a way that expressed the seriousness of anaphylaxis without scaring or turning people off with too much information.

My “reviewers” quickly pointed out where I needed to reconsider my expectations, reminding me that people would make mistakes; they would overlook things like “may contain” warnings on food labels as they weren’t accustomed to reading labels the way I did.

Next: Uninvited to the Birthday

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