Food Allergist Shares Back-to-School Tips
ALBANY, N.Y., September 00, 2013 — As parents send their children off to school, Albany Medical Center food allergist Kirsi Jarvinen-Seppo, M.D., Ph.D., provides tips for parents of children with life-threatening food allergies.
“For children with food allergies, even trace amounts of an allergen can have serious consequences, so it’s important for parents to educate school staff and properly empower their children as well,” Dr. Jarvinen-Seppo says.
Dr. Jarvinen-Seppo offers the following advice:
• Discuss your child’s food allergy with his or her teacher, school nurse and, if appropriate, cafeteria staff before school starts.
• Provide the school with the Food Allergy Action Plan developed by your child’s physician as well as at least one epinephrine device (EpiPen) in case of exposure to the allergen, as well as any additional medications prescribed by your child’s physician. The school nurse, teacher, and principal should be trained in how to properly administer these medications.
• Many teachers will allow children to keep “safe snacks” (i.e. non-dairy cupcakes for milk-allergic children) in the classroom for children with allergies to eat during classroom birthday celebrations and other unplanned events.
• Educate children to wash hands and surfaces before eating, and not to share food.
• Encourage the teacher to allow the child’s physician or other health care worker into the classroom to educate classmates about the dangers of exposure to certain foods.
According to Dr. Jarvinen-Seppo, nearly six million children suffer from some form of food allergy. Peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, and shellfish are the most common allergens.
Dr. Jarvinen-Seppo sees patients at Albany Med’s Allergy and Asthma Center. To make an appointment, patients can call (518) 264-2510.
Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 651-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region’s largest physicians practice with nearly 400 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region’s health and quality of life. For more information: www.amc.edu or www.facebook.com/albanymedicalcenter.
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