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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:43 am 
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I came across a discussion/debate here that I thought we might find interesting on our boards:

http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/in ... &d=&t=2348

What do you think - do some rules go too far to protect allergic kids, alienating other non-allergic families rather than winning them over? The grass example certainly seems extreme; presumably the child with severe allergies to grass can't play on it, but to move all the other kids onto blacktop doesn't seem like much of a solution.

What do you guys think? Any creative ways of accommodating at your child's school?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:32 pm 
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I think a healthy balanced approach is needed.
Ideally each school would have a cafeteria which could be washed following meals instead of students eating in their classrooms. With cafeterias, supervision could be in the form of 2-3 staff in the room instead of a few teachers roaming the hallways.
Because it is possible to be allergic to just about everything I think that we need to focus on the minimizing of risk of exposure.
Peanut butter is easily spread and hard to remove. Therefore it should be banned.
I personally hate to have the allergic child sit by themselves at a table as I think much is learned during lunch (how to relate to others etc.)
I do see that sitting out during the odd PE class when rolling on the grass might be warrunted but that shouldn't be very often.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 5:03 pm 
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Location: saskatchewan, canada
Quote:
The grass example certainly seems extreme; presumably the child with severe allergies to grass can't play on it, but to move all the other kids onto blacktop doesn't seem like much of a solution.


If they don't play on the grass they play on the blacktop :? ...where's that...the parking lot? Does this school have a gym???

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DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:13 pm 
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Good point. But still - where do you think you draw the line on something like asthmatic reactions to grass?

I didn't find the use of wipes particularly excessive to expect, but then I am biased.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:18 pm 
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Where I think it goes too far is just banning everything out of paranoia. The school I worked at last year had bans on all sorts of things "just to be safe" and made parents only bring in treats from one very expensive, out of the way "safe" bakery. There were a handful of peanut-allergic kids, but they could safely eat any number of things not from this bakery (for example, fresh fruit, or commercial products made in peanut-safe facilities). But the school said no, it had to be only from that bakery.

I think a lot of people forget that peanut is not the only allergy. If you start banning whole bunches of things "just to be safe" and you have someone who is allergic to something else but can eat one of the things you banned, you are unfairly limiting them. You need to be reasonable about it. At the school I am at now, I know of one teacher with a peanut allergy, but I don't think any kids have them. Peanuts are banned. That is fine, because there is a need. But they never talked about banning other foods because there was not a need, and that's fine with me. If a child came to the school who had a medical issue, be it allergy or something else, that would be accommodated on a case by case basis (and we do have some children who have these accommodations). But 'just to be safe' when there is no actual need? I would disagree with that.

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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: Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:32 am 
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I think you need to assess the level of risk. In younger grades there is a very real need to protect the child but as they get older, the need is to help them to function in society and give them the tools to do so.
I don't want our daughter at school when every single child has handled pizza and very few have washed up because thet is very risky for her due to milk allergies. I have no problem with a child eating a cold cheese sandwhich at her table. The allergen is les likely to spread.
I expect the teachers to set up some basic rules regarding eating in the classroom such as not shareing food and trying nt to be messy when eating etc.
The same holds true with grass allergies. If the grass has been recently cut or it is a particularly windy day, it might not be a day suitable for playing outside. Just as if it were raining. It would not be a suitable enviroment to teach gymnastics either as the children would be rolling on the grass. Perhaps they could play field hockey and she could wear an extra (thin) layer to protect her from falls? I would not have her play rougher sports where one is tackled. What about track and field? This would be played on the black top or on dirt tracks or in sandy pits (long jump).
I think one needs to look at what we are tryng to teach and how we can minimize the risk.
(With illnesses and conditions the parents should ideally be the ones to do this however many schools have taken on ** education and health. I see allergies as an off shoot from health but only if the schools have good information-this may come in a few years)

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:46 am 
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_Susan_ wrote:
I don't want our daughter at school when every single child has handled pizza and very few have washed up because thet is very risky for her due to milk allergies. I have no problem with a child eating a cold cheese sandwhich at her table. The allergen is les likely to spread.

I really empathize with those dealing with dairy allergy, it's a really hard one. Susan, I just wanted to say that in my son's classroom many kids bring in cheese sandwiches and processed cheese sandwiches/products as dairy isn't an issue in his classroom. My observations over the lunch hour have opened my eyes to how some 4 and 5 year olds eat -- fingers in mouths, pulling sandwiches apart, hands everywhere, food everywhere. Some kids are just messy eaters (a couple of kids in my son's class come to mind) and no amount of coaching at school changes it. In the younger grades, I personally wouldn't trust a classmate of his to eat a cheese sandwich in his class if it was an allergen for him.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:20 am 
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Hmm, good points.

Quote:
I would not have her play rougher sports where one is tackled. What about track and field? This would be played on the black top or on dirt tracks or in sandy pits (long jump).
I think one needs to look at what we are tryng to teach and how we can minimize the risk.


That makes a lot of sense. But I think Ficbot is right that some schools may over-react, take not the best course out of ignorance or perhaps a lack of imagination and familiarity with what to do. (Did someone at ficbot's former school have shares in that bakery? :roll: )

Boy, even with Sabrina's Law in Ont. and its new variant in B.C., our allergy education work is never done.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:39 am 
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ethansmom's wrote-
Quote:
Some kids are just messy eaters (a couple of kids in my son's class come to mind) and no amount of coaching at school changes it. In the younger grades, I personally wouldn't trust a classmate of his to eat a cheese sandwich in his class if it was an allergen for him.

On two occasions, our daughter has been sent to the principals office to eat her lunch because someone has spilt their milk. While she doesn't mind (she has quicker access to the playground after the eating period is over, and I don't mind that she has 1:1 supervision from the principal, it does bother me because one associates going to the principal's office with bad behavior, because she is singled out and because it does not afford her the oppourtunity to socialize with her peers.
It may be alright for grade 1 but what about grade 4? Can they not just clean up the spill?

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:01 am 
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You would think.

I think with more allergic kids, maybe it will improve.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:13 am 
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I think that the best solution is when the kids eat in a cafeteria and they have access to a school-run hot lunch program. I am lucky cos that is what Aaron's school has. Most kids eat the hot lunch - they do not guarantee that trace amounts of nut are in the food, but there are no overt peanut/nut foods served. They could easily modify it to deal with other allergies. Aaron brings lunch from home, so do others, it's not a big deal.

A not very good set up, that I'm hearing happens quite a bit, is the kids eating in their classrooms with a roaming supervisor, who is in charge of a number of classes, 6 or so. These are kids as young as grade 1. I would be very scared if my child was in that situation, no matter how much schools try, they will be able to lessen the amount of peanut butter coming in, but some will get in. I would be afraid of the likelihood of bullying situations.

I think we should really concentrate on good handwashing routines in schools with plain soap, not the anti-bacterial. We will be able to help ALL the kids (and ourselves) by decreasing the spread of germs, and it will benefit allergic kids greatly.

The good news was a study (I am trying to remember this out of my head, so I may not be 100% right on my statistics) that looked at 6 schools and preschools, only 1 was allergy aware. They took samples from waterfountains, school desks, and cafeteria tables, and they only found trace amounts of peanut protein on 1 out of 13 water fountains, the desk and tables were all free of the protein.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:25 pm 
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I remember my mother's business hosting a field trip for one of the classes and being told that she had to buy treats only from the safe bakery. She felt it was a little bit extreme, and I agreed. The school would rather the children eat donuts from the safe bakery than Fresh fruit from a grocery store. That, to me, is missing the point.

At the same time, as a teacher, I see both sides of it. A lot of parents have come on this board and said things like 'the school said the teacher will not be responsible for carrying the epi-pen because they can't assure us it would be administered properly." And they are angry. But, it is such a hard accommodation sometimes because there are specialist teachers, substitute teachers, parent volunteers, reading buddies, hot lunch servers etc. who just can't always know the deal with every child in the school. Most teachers on staff here do care very much, and would do their absolute best for your child. But to 100% promise that an adult will at all times be present who knows exactly what to do, it just is not feasible. We would not want to give a false sense of security. So we say things like "we will all take a course in how to use the epi-pen, but the child must carry it themselves." And some schools take the view my prior school, where they feel like it is somehow easier to ban every possible allergen than to take sensible precautions and learn how to minimize risk and treat any problems if they happen.

_________________
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 Oct 18, 2007 6:44 pm 
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ficbot- I beg to differ with you.

I agree that the student should wear their Epi-Pen/twinject as it is impoprtant that the medicine be accessible, but I don't think it is too much to ask that school personel be trained on how to administer it.

It is pretty fool-proof. With the rise in allergies being what they are some scientists are projecting that by the year 2015 there will be more people with allergies than without.
http://www.ga2len.net/index.cfm?pageID= ... PublicPage

I think that it is no more reasonable to expect school staff to be trained on the Epi-Pen as it is to have them trained on basic CPR first aide. They do more than just teach the 3 R's. They are in charge of our most precious resource, our youth, for a large portion of the day.

This a reality in education as much as the Privacy Act is. It is much more black and white than that law, too. If someone who has an Epi-Pen is in crisis and has any symptoms of anaphylaxis-give the Epi-Pen and call 911.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:49 pm 
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Oh, I agree that the teachers should be trained on it. But I saw a post here once where the person expected the child's teacher to carry it around with them, and the school said the child had to carry it themselves and the parent was upset. I think people often do not realize how hectic a school day is---the teachers move in and out of the class, the children move from gym to lunch to music to whatever, and there are a thousand things to remember. There are all sorts of easy ways to have the epi-pen always handy, but having the teacher carry it is not one of them! If the child has it with the, I thinkthe teacher can be counted on to administer it. But the last thing you would want in a crisis is a teacher who is not the child's own wondering where the pen is an wasting time looking for it.

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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 Oct 18, 2007 9:38 pm 
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ficbot wrote-
Quote:
But the last thing you would want in a crisis is a teacher who is not the child's own wondering where the pen is an wasting time looking for it.


On that we can agree! :)

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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