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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 10:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I know this topic has come up before, but here are some more issues:

students routinely eat during lecture and during seminar. I'm sympathetic when they have a 3 hour class in the evening over dinner hour, but should food be restricted in the lecture hall? Even if there isn't an allergic student in the class, there could very well be in the class using the room the next hour.

In at least one Ontario university, students are able to eat in the library. I'm not talking about a separate, designated area in the library where people can eat . . .. they are able to eat in all study areas. There isn't a spot where one can sit and be sure not to have to contend with crumbs.

Should university/college instructors be trained in the use of the epipen? It is a tricky question . . . I don't know if I can really expect other people to know how to deal with a medical emergency I might have when I haven't taken a course on CPR (which I feel I ought to do.)

When someone is hired as a prof or an instructor at a university, the question of what to do about medical emergencies in class just never come up. I think the underlying assumption is dealing with medical emergencies isn't a likely scenario and isn't part of the job description (a university prof in the humanities only sees a given class for 3 hours a week.)


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 11:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
I think there is an expectation that adults (and college students would be considered adults!) are to know how to take care of themselves. I know that at the school I am working at now, they go all out to protect the kids, but many staff have brought contraband (nut-containing etc.) into the staff room with no complaints. During staff orientation week, two of us copped to having epi-pens (me for the food stuff, someone else for bee stings) but we never showed/expected anyone else to administer it for us. I think that extra measures to protect children in their own environments (school, camp) are one thing, but expecting the whole world to make accomodations in public places just is not realistic. You will not get compliance. There is just no way you can regulate an entire university campus and ensure it. I do think it might be possible, in a place like the library, to have a designated 'clean' area where food is not allowed, but I don't see how you can regulatelecture halls (which are used by so many classes/groups/people) or other public spaces. I think the allergic individuals just need to get used to carrying around wet wipes or something and managing their own workspaces.

You get into issues, too, of people with different needs and what happens when those needs conflict. What about diabetics who, for health reasons, may need to eat at very specific times? Should they be denied the opportunity to education because of a ban on food in lecture halls? Or bans on certain foods...I always find those hard because they leave me so few options for eating since I have allergies to other permitted foods. I just don't see how any regulation of the adult world would be even remotely practical.

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I agree that adults should be responsible for administering the epipen if they are able, but occasionally, the first indication of a reaction = loss of consciousness. If the reaction is severe and sudden enough, you might not be able to self-administer the pen. Theoretically, in my opinion, it is a good idea to train coworkers on how to operate the epipen just in case (and I think that is what some allergists recommend). I do find it hard, though, to ask others to learn how to use the epi . . .seems like an imposition. And I feel like before I do I should take a first aid course or something so that I would know what to do in case other people have other medical emergencies. Don't know if one can ask profs. to learn how to use the epi. But maybe students should train those of their friends who show up to class regularly.

I think you're right about not being able to regulate the entire university campus . . . not possible or desirable. But I do think that people might give some consideration to going back to the old-fashioned rules about food in lecture halls and libraries. I like how some libraries at U of T deal with the food issue . . .i.e. there are some select spots where people can eat. But you can't eat in the stacks or at the desks reserved for studying. Allowing food everywhere in the library isn't good for the books either and could attract mice/roaches.

There are some lecture halls where one still can't eat----i.e. the theatre-style ones. And lectures are only 50 minutes----there is a 10 minute break in between classes. Sometimes it is hard to grab a bite to eat if it takes 10 minutes to get to the next class, however. And some exceptions should be made for people with hypoglycemia or diabetes or other medical issues. I think something could be worked out---i.e. maybe fruit and veggies would be fine. Or maybe this isn't something that should be "legislated". . . but students could be asked to make every effort to eat between classes. The fact that risk isn't eliminated isn't an issue for me . . . I just wonder if we should push to reduce risk. Also, the question of what level of risk is acceptable is a difficult one when other people are involved.

I'd personally be okay with finding a seat that didn't have too many crumbs because I haven't had a severe contact reaction. But where the whole food in lecture halls issue becomes a major concern is when people have systemic reactions from contact. i.e. someone I know had to be sent home 2X from work from having reactions that weren't from ingestion. She gets major hives and gets itchy all over + has breathing difficulty. The office she used to work at ended up being declared peanut free (although peanuts was not by any means her only anaphylactic allergy). People could bring peanuts to work as long as they ate them in the cafeteria and not while working in the office. One person was really resentful of the rule for awhile, but the boss enforced it and I think he got on board eventually.

I do think that it is easier to deal with allergies in a highschool or in an office setting, but if people have major contact reactions, university and college is one time when life could become difficult.


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:31 pm
Posts: 97
Location: Montreal
And what happened to good manners????

It's just not polite to eat anywhere. Eating should be restricted to certain areas, regardless of allergies. I can't believe that eating in a library is now not only tolerated but permitted????

_________________
11yo boy - peanuts nuts chickpeas
8yo daughter - peanuts, nuts, mustard, eggs, sunflowers (new! ), oral allergy syndrome
husband - pollen of all kinds
me - seafood,, oral allergy syndrome


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 11:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
Helen, I hear what you're saying, but I just think regulating of public spaces can be such a slippery slope because compliance is nearly impossible to enforce. What do you do with issues like public transporation? I see a ton of people eating on busses and subways. If someone has a 45-minute bus ride and a seat and they have settled in, many of them do pull out food. And what if they are going between two or three different jobs and it's their only time they can eat? I dothink it is rude to eat very smelly or messy food in public like that, but I also see plenty of people doing it.

I think the idea of having areas where one can and one can't eat is a good idea. But I think they might need to have systems to make it easier for people to do that easily. For example I was at a library today that did have designated areas, but they had no mechanism for leaving your books somewhere so that you could resume with them when you had finished eating. I had puleld 7-8 books from the stacks. After taking a break to eat, I would have had to go back and find them again on the shelves because there was no place to leave my in progress stuff. So those are the situations where you see people trying to sneak bites from their bags even if there is a no food rule.

I also remember a story about a peanut-allergic teen who wanted to attend hockey games. She herself said she did not expect them to ban peanuts in the whole stadium just ebcause people had allergies. But she was advocated for a peanut-free section where those who would sit there should agree not to bring peanuts in and the stadium would agree not to sell them there. I don't remember if she got her wish or not.

Bottom line is, whether people should or should not be considerate, or whether there is or is not a policy in any given place, in the adult world, one simply cannot assure 100% compliance, and fair or not, the onus has to fall on the allergic adult to take whatever measures to protect themselves and to compensate for the unintentional risks others might be posing. There is just no other way to assure safety.

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 11:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 1:17 am
Posts: 10
Location: toronto
hey Helen. I was just curious, what problems as a student have you come accross?

I go to Mac and I can't say I've ever come into any problems with food or food debris in lecture or in the library. In fact I'm one of the aforementioned students who eats in both places. I'd suggest if you're really nervous bringing a wipe and just wipe off your seat/desk, but in my experience I've never seen anyone whip out the PB and J or the trail mix in class.

Profs do have workplace safety training which means even if they arent able to administer the epi they do know what to do in a general emergency situation. As well at many schools and for many positions basic first aid training is mandatory. Lastly almost all campuses have an on campus Emergency Response Team that are the first to scene if an emergency is called. They can administer the epi pen.

I would really recomend a medic alert for anyone who goes to uni because you will not always have a friend in class who can explain things for you. Better safe then sorry.

ficbot I agree with your point about public spaces. As well I think that well its awesome that closed environments such as schools and camps are allergen aware, the fact is that every one with allergies can't live in a bubble. We have to live in the world, and that means dealing with environments that arent 100% safe. The best advice I can give to anyone on that is to not expect people or institutions to make changes for you; do it yourself. If someone in a bus or at school is eating something that you're allergic to ask them to stop, rat on the people eating at the library when they shouldn't be, etc.

just my $0.02 on the subject.

_________________
PA TNA EA all my life...yet still finding time to bring aaaa back :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:25 am 
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Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 12:18 am
Posts: 45
Location: Edmonton
I've been in university at the University of Alberta for 4 years and here are a few things that i've noticed/learned regarding this matter:
Food and open drinks are not allowed in any of our libraries. However, this is usually bypassed by going to a quiet cubby to study where you're not in plain view of the librarians. I honestly study better sometimes when i eat. We are allowed to eat in class/lectures as long as we clean up after ourselves. This is both good and bad, no one likes hearing someone chewing loudly in their ear for 50 minutes but I agree that sometimes you don't have a choice. I've been in mayn situations where i have 10 minutes to go cross-campus between classes. In the winter, when you're all bundled-up, it's quite difficult to eat while walking. Common lounging areas are cess-pools for not only germs but allergens as well. In fact, last October I had am amaphylaxis reaction after eating in such an area. Luckily i was with my best-friend who knows how to administer my EpiPen and she offered to do it but i managed to do it myself. Also, we were across the street from the hospital. There are certain situations where it would be reasonable to request special consideration. At the U of A we have a student service called Specialized Support and Disability Services http://www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/SSDS/ssdsmain.cfm
They regularly accomodate students with allergies to certain chemicals or substances that may present in certain rooms on campus and not in orders. For example, I'm allergic to chalk, I had a course in a really old tiny classroom with a chalkboard. I actually reacted during class and had to take my ventolin. SSDS moved my class to a different building where they had dry-erase boards (white boards) instead. I've heard of students needing special accomodation due to certain chemicals in some of the science buildings.
So, to sum up a very long post (many appologies!) Here's what I would recommend for all university students with food or environmental allergies:
1) Wear a MedicAlert bracelet
2) ALWAYS carry dissinfecting wipes with you and use them liberally; ESPECIALLY on surfaces where you will be eating and in computer labs (wipe down the keyboard and mouse) and also in language labs or audiovisual rooms where you need to wear headphones, wipe those down, or bring your own (in the UofA's music library, the listening stations can accomodate standard earphones from mp3 players and discmen.
3) Find out about specific services at your university for students requiring special accomodations - especially if you have environmental allergies. Make an appointment with an advisor and discuss your concerns and see what they can offer to accomodate you.
4) Find out what the nearest source of medical aid is from all of your classrooms so that in case of emergency, you know where to go - find out if/where there is a hospital on campus and where your health services office is located.
5) Befriend a couple of students who sit near you and mention your allergy, once you get to know each other a bit better show them how to use the epipen. I've found that most people are really willing to help.
That's all i can think of right now. I really hope this helps. Unfortunately a lot of this was learned through trial and error. I appoligize again for the length. And if any of you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask, I'm more than happy to share my experiences with you!!

Caroline[/list]

_________________
Anaphylaxis to fish, nut, peanuts, soy, birch, and grass.
OAS


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 10:21 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Hey Caroline -

Don't apologize for the length (I'm sure I've written longer posts! ;) ). I think this is an excellent summary of what FA people have to do to stay safe.

Much as we wish the rest of the world would do their best to keep us safe, as others have said, it isn't always realistic. Sometimes the rest of the world will meet us half-way or even more than half-way, but I do think that people have to take responsibility for their condition. Your list goes a long way to making that happen, I think.

I never said that it was fair (having to be so responsible, I mean), but I do think that it's necessary.

Thanks!

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


Last edited by KarenOASG on Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 10:31 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
caretrem -- you offer some really great advice!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I guess I've been away from the board for awhile! Thanks caretrem, and everyone for your suggestions/perspective.


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