Allergies and Anaphylaxis

Updated on Wed, 12/09/2020 - 9:57am

Allergies are hypersensitive immune responses to substances that either enter or come in contact with the body, such as pet dander, pollen, bee venom, or peanuts. A substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an "allergen". Allergens can be found in food and drinks as well as the indoor and outdoor environments. Allergies can range from mild, moderate, or severe in nature.

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction of rapid onset. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and must be treated as a medical emergency. This type of allergic reaction can involve multiple body systems and can appear within minutes or hours after exposure to the allergen.

Allergies & Anaphylaxis Information

Considerations for Students with Allergies

If your student has been diagnosed with an allergy, please alert the school health office. An Epinephrine auto-injector (commonly referred to as an  Epi-Pen®) is frequently prescribed, along with a histamine blocker, such as Benadryl, for students with moderate to severe allergies. In order to have these medications available at school, your health care provider will need to complete the Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan. This needs to be completed annually. School staff will be trained and delegated by the School Nurse in the proper use and administration of medications that have been prescribed for your student. If you choose to have your student self carry an Epi-Pen®, you will need to complete the Self Carry Contract (Español). Elementary students rarely self carry any medications. It is strongly recommended to keep backup Epi-Pens® in the health office in the event your student loses or forgets theirs.  All medications must have a pharmacy label with your student’s name and dosage. For further questions regarding allergies and anaphylaxis management in your student’s school, contact the School Nurse.

Food Allergies

Schools take food allergies or intolerances into consideration when planning meals and snacks. Our kitchens are sensitive to common allergens, specifically peanut and tree nut allergies. In most cases, food allergies can be managed within the normal meal service due to the variety of choices available through the “offer vs. serve” menu serving concept which allows students to decline a certain number of food items in a meal. This can help in accommodating special dietary needs simply by omitting an item from their tray. Additional information about food allergies and school menus with listed common food allergens can be found on the Nutrislice Menu Website

Meals for students with special needs shall be prepared in accordance with Individualized Education Plans, Section 504 Plans, or Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plans. Food substitutions may be authorized for students with dietary needs that rise to the level of a dietary disability, as determined by their Health Care Provider. Requests for meal modifications require a Medical Statement for Meal Modification (Español) signed by a licensed physician. 

For further assistance with dietary needs for your student, please call your child’s school kitchen manager or contact Nutrition Services.