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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 11:15 am 
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Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 30
I am so angry! :evil:

I just found out that my son's school had a fun lunch on April 24 with sesame seeds (my son's worst allergy) on hamburgers & hotdogs. I didn't know because I missed the last parent council meeting (my husband had to be at work) & my son's in Kindergarten & they have a fun snack instead. Nobody mentioned this to me at all. He's been reacting all week to sesame cross-contamination! :evil: I'm going to call the fun lunch co-ordinator later this morning after I calm down & ask to be included in all fun lunch planning. Should I cal the school & ask them to make sure that the gym & bathrooms have been cleaned throughly? It's probably too late now. Thank goodness he's in AM Kindergarten & he was out of the school right away that Fri at lunch. I guess it could have been worse.

We thought that he was extra itchy & red because he's been eating strawberries for the last week. He was unbelievably itchy & red on Monday! We were just about to cut strawberries out of his diet & ask him to be allergy tested for them until I got the last set of receipts for fun lunch for his school this morning. I keep the books.

I cannot believe that this happened! Any suggestions?

_________________
Brenda (asthma)
DH (asthma, environmental allergies, milk intolerance)
DS 6 YRS (allergies - sesame, poppyseed, tree nuts, shellfish, soy intolerance, asthma, eczema)
DD 4 YRS (asthma)


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Do you have an individual plan? I would call the principal. He/she is the person responsible for disseminating information.

By all means, ask what has been done to reduce the risk of exposure. Information needs to be activley disseminated and not just to those who show up for school council meetings. grrr

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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: Tue May 05, 2009 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
Very sorry to hear of that problem.

That is a good reminder to talk with the Principal to find out who is doing the fun lunch/hot lunch etc for next school year to ensure they know about severe food allergies. It should not be up to you to attend every parent council meeting to cover that. Our hot lunch co-ordinator rarely attends our meetings anyway.

I hope it was just ignorance in that the person just did not know...

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 9:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 30
Thanks for all your suggestions! It's greatly appreciated. What's the best way to explain cross-contamination to people? How do you explain the difference between cross-contamination of an occasional student who may bring in an allergen versus having a school wide luncheon with a child's anaphylactic allergy?

Thanks,
Brenda

_________________
Brenda (asthma)
DH (asthma, environmental allergies, milk intolerance)
DS 6 YRS (allergies - sesame, poppyseed, tree nuts, shellfish, soy intolerance, asthma, eczema)
DD 4 YRS (asthma)


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 12:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
That is a great question... I think it has to be in terms that people without allergies can understand. The first thing that comes to mind is chicken pox or similar where it is highly contagious and that avoidance is the only way not to get it. Or imagine a child putting blue chalk on their hand and then going through the school day and how many surfaces would have blue chalk?

I have found that examples of real life situations work the best. It freaked people out when they heard that my daughter had hives and swelling from an unknown 'goo' on the library table. It was a year later that she developed real anaphylactic allergies...

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 9:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
This is a product that I have seen used to teach proper hand washing techniques. It is a great tool for giving an invisible concept a visual understanding.

http://www.glogerm.com/

Several public health departments offer it in a kit format (not sure if there is a cost).

_________________
Moderator
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: Fri May 08, 2009 9:53 am 
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Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 30
Yes, my son has a plan. We've had 2 administrators this year. The first one was really knowledgeable about allergies. We went through the entire divisional allergy policy last year with his first administrator. We've met with the second administrator when she expressed concerns about keeping my son safe for a school wide event & went through his allergies with her & that he has had serious contact reactions & that Sesame was his worst allergy & this still happened. She had all the previous plans in front of her when we spoke.

The principal says that the lunch co-ordinators know about the necessary precautions & overlooked the sesame on the buns. The lunch co-ordinators say that they were only told no peanuts / peanut oil. They have been very careful about the snacks that go into my son's classroom but I don't think they understand the danger of bringing it outside of his classroom into the school in large quantities. I tried to explain it to them via email & I'll call & make sure there are no questions. They are going to include me in their lunch planning next year. They are volunteers so I think that it is the principal's responsibility to oversee these things right? It's hard enough to find volunteers to do stuff around the school never mind blaming them when things go wrong. What do you all think?

Walooet, I like your chicken pox & chalk example. I'm going to try using it.

_________________
Brenda (asthma)
DH (asthma, environmental allergies, milk intolerance)
DS 6 YRS (allergies - sesame, poppyseed, tree nuts, shellfish, soy intolerance, asthma, eczema)
DD 4 YRS (asthma)


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 10:01 am 
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Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 30
Thanks Susan for the information re: the handwashing. I've talked to the current principal & my son's teacher about this product already. Nothing has happened though. There were concerns brought up at the last parent council meeting about lack of soap dispensers & dryers & that kids weren't washing their hands properly by the lunch co-ordinator. The school knows that this is an issue & still brought in my son's severe allergen in large quantities. I'm not sure where to go with this? The principal said that they always encourage handwashing when I asked about risk of exposure but they've already identified that it's not happening. I'm just so frustrated. I don't what to do to get people to understand or how I need to explain it so they understand?

_________________
Brenda (asthma)
DH (asthma, environmental allergies, milk intolerance)
DS 6 YRS (allergies - sesame, poppyseed, tree nuts, shellfish, soy intolerance, asthma, eczema)
DD 4 YRS (asthma)


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 11:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
I'm not sure if you live in Ontario or not but Bill 3 (aka Sabrina's Law) defines the individual plan as:
Quote:
An individual plan for a pupil with an anaphylactic allergy shall be consistent with the board’s policy and shall include:

1. Details informing employees and others who are in direct contact with the pupil on a regular basis of the type of allergy, monitoring and avoidance strategies and appropriate treatment.
2. A readily accessible emergency procedure for the pupil, including emergency contact information.

3. Storage for epinephrine auto-injectors, where necessary.

(I changed the colour of the part I wanted to draw attention to)
So, the fact that they are volunteers should not matter. They are regularily in direct contact with the students. Keep in mind that you are not blaming them but identifying issues that increase the risk of exposure to your child's allergen which can place his/her life in danger. You are assisting the principal in reducing liability when you work with the school.

It was the responsibility of the principal to disseminate information and it does not appear to have happened correctly. It is not your concern whether or not they have enough volunteers, perhaps if they supported the volunteers properly, they'd have more.

The reason I mentioned Glo Germ (or similar products if there are any) is that you can use this to show how easily cross contamination can occur.

Issues surrounding hand washing are huge.
How much time is provided for eating?
Is it sufficient to allow all students to wash their hands, eat, use the toilet and wash their hands again?
How many washrooms/sinks are available to the students (our daughter's school has JK/SK in a separate area and they only have 2 single washrooms to use if someone has to "go" the hand washing is put on the back burner and she often ran out of time to eat) Who is responsible for stocking washrooms with soap and paper towels?
How often is this done?
You mention that the principal said they always encourage hand washing. That's great. Just exactly how do they do this?
In order to identify where you need to challenge your energies, you need to understand what they are doing and where they need help. You need to be able to measure the process. Vague statements like, "We encourage hand washing" is not measureable.

Good luck!

Remember that with the scare of H1N1, hand washing is a big thing right now, perhaps the local public health dept can be of assistance?

_________________
Moderator
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: Fri May 08, 2009 4:54 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
This thread came to mind today because I was talking with some teachers from a high school about whether food should be allowed in the classroom. A young teacher's attitutde was that it is up the child with allergies to worry about it. I told him that is okay for the cafeteria but for a classroom it is like another student watching the person next to them juggling knives and hoping they don't get hurt by the other student's actions. I think that is unacceptable in a classroom where they must learn. How would other students fare in focussing on their schoolwork if they were so concerned about whether or not they would be needing an ambulance?

It really upset me and he said that he just sees it from a different perspective. I need a visual to use and swarms of bees around one student's head while everyone else was oblivious was one of my first thoughts... I'd love allergy education posters like that or similar!

There is a school near me where a teacher is anaphylactic to a common allergen and the problem is that it is airborne. The teacher has had a number of anaphylactic reactions. In that school, there is a big sign saying "No ---" allowed in the staff room and I was told it is also now at the entrance to the school. I don't get why that seems to be acceptable to a lot of people when it is the teacher but for the kids "Just deal with it".

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 11:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
Sometimes I feel like asking people to tell me everything they know about food allergies instead of explaining it to them. They are so quick to make judgements, they must really have a good understanding of the issue, right?
Sigh*

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Moderator
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: Sat May 09, 2009 9:29 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
That is a great idea! I think I will also look around for an allergy quiz.

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 30
Thanks everyone for all your advice! It's so nice to know that there are others facing the same challenges out there. Thanks for your advice Susan! I'm going to give it a try! Walooet, what was the teacher's allergen that has been banned? I'm just wondering what is possible out there?
Thanks,
Brenda

_________________
Brenda (asthma)
DH (asthma, environmental allergies, milk intolerance)
DS 6 YRS (allergies - sesame, poppyseed, tree nuts, shellfish, soy intolerance, asthma, eczema)
DD 4 YRS (asthma)


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
Fish and possibly shellfish.

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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