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DD severe peanut allergy and just started high school-any advice welcome x

(18 Posts)
fakeblonde Thu 06-Sep-07 10:57:57

DD 2 has the most severe form of peanut allergy.She has had 3 anapylactic reactions over the years - 1 she had a resp arrest and another although she was unconcious for a while she didn`t stop breathing.
We have become somewhat relaxed about the whole thing (not stupidly ), but because she went to a primary of only 23 pupils and she was barely at risk at school.
This week she started high school and there are about 800 kids !
I know she`s scared as she asked me to show her how to self inject her epipen.
Also she has only eaten mashed potato and beans for dinner !
At primary the teachers were trained to do it but at secondary she has been told to carry her own.
While i appreciate she is now 11 and should have one on her all the time i really dont think she would give it to herself.
Also the amount of adrenaline she has needed in the past was so much more-2 epipens just managed to get her thro until the ambulance came.
I am now worried and even having stupid dreams about her eating buckets of nuts at school !
Anyone else got a child at high school who manages this sort of thing.
I would really appreciate any tips i could pass on to DD.X
Is there anything we can do to lower her chances of getting contanimated at school.
I`m thinking its only a matter of time before she sits at a table where someone has eaten peanuts or peanut butter.The one time she had a reaction seconds after we walked into a hotel room where someone had obviuosly been scoffing the bl*y things hmm

EricL Thu 06-Sep-07 11:05:03

I know this is not answering your query but it has just reminded me of a question i have.

We have been told that a child in the nursery has a peanut allergy and we are not to send the kids in with nuts in their lunches.

This is a shame for mine as she absolutely loves nuts. Its not much of a hassle not to put nuts in of course but i wanted to know is it just peanuts that are the problem or all nuts?

fakeblonde Thu 06-Sep-07 11:09:23

Eric i didn`t understand either until dd was allergic.Peanuts tho are not nuts-they are part of another family.Severely peanut allergic children are advised to avoid all nuts usually because of the risk of cross contamination.My dd is not nut allergic-but i would never give her nuts incase they had been mixed up with peanuts.There is also a choking hazard with any nuts at primary.

mears Thu 06-Sep-07 11:10:45

fakeblonde - I think you need to speak to the school staff to ensure that someone will use the epipen if she can't.

My neice has severe nut allergy (actual nuts) and carries a little kit that includes piriton that she takes at the first hint of trouble.

She is 14 years old and still cannot bring herself to inject - her mum/dad have to do it if they are there.

My sister had discussions with the school, who said they were worried about being sued if they injected incorrectly. My sis reassured them that she would sue if they stood there and did nothing!

fakeblonde Thu 06-Sep-07 11:20:37

Thanks mears.
She should really have piriton too to gargle but she doesn`t want to carry it all around.I think i`ll try to contact the school nurse.

KerryMum Thu 06-Sep-07 11:22:28

Fakeblonde - Have you spoken to the principal at all about this?

Donk Thu 06-Sep-07 11:36:25

I can't comment on your school - but they do vary widely! One Secondary school I taught at was very careful to make all staff aware of pupils with severe allergies - and we were all trained to use an epipen.
The other school didn't give us any health related information at all!

fakeblonde Thu 06-Sep-07 11:41:16

Well i`ve spoken to the school nurse.
Staff cant give epipen but she said with parents permission she will start a buddy system so some of her friends know how to give it to her !!!!!!! FGS Um they are 11 years old too .

KerryMum Thu 06-Sep-07 11:47:12

WTF is she there for?

Time to get seroius fakeblonde. Will be back to you later... have to dash to collect ds1

chloesmumtoo Thu 06-Sep-07 12:02:46

Oh my god! Isnt this utterley ridiculous. I have a dd severely allergic to peanuts. Only 5yrs at present but is this what I have to look forward too? We luckily have a lovely little school who have banned nuts/peanuts in school, well have asked for people not to bring them in. They did try to get training on the epipen but not sure if it has been carried through- now one year later. Apparently the first aider has done it before so I am satisfied and I currently talked dd's teacher through it myself. They have never refused to inject. However dd has not had another reaction since her first one years ago. Sorry to hear your problems and all I can say is just push and push,keep at them. Keep stressing to them and make them understand it. I made up a huge folder on my dd's allergies and gave it to the school. Will not look forward to when she goes secondary either then. What a worry for you both. I dont know what to sujest its not at all comforting for you is it. Ahh. Its as bad as when my doctor spoke to me badly and said what a waste of time my protocol was before she started school and lectured me that the teachers would not do it(inject her). I left in tears. As for the periton being a problem to carry, I know that full well, leaks in my bag all the time - dont they do a tablet form? Check it out just incase. Sure they do.

flamingtoaster Thu 06-Sep-07 13:03:40

DS has multiple food allergies - but none as serious as your DD. The secondary school School Doctor held regular meetings where all the children who had allergies, and their parents, met and discussed any problems - the epipen was always demonstrated, and following the meeting the parents all received an individual letter with the Doctor's plan of treatment (which would be filed with the school along with an additional epipen in case the child forgot to bring theirs) was set out - including asking the parents' permission to administer additional epipens if the situation needed it.

If I had been faced with the situation you are I would write to the Head of Governors (with a copy to the Head Teacher) setting out my concerns and outlining the seriousness of the situation.

A separate issue is DD not carrying Piriton. I went through similar problems with DS - and I can understand it. However, to get the school onboard with this DD has to do her bit perfectly - which includes carrying an antihistamine. I realize she is supposed to gargle with it - but maybe you could ask your doctor if she could have antihistamine tablets instead and warn her that they have to be taken really quickly as they are slightly slower to act as they have to dissolve in the stomach. I don't know if there are under-the-tongue dissolving antihistimes - if there are we've never come across them!

Good luck - I know how worried I was at times with DS and he actually had to ingest the foods (albeit it small quantities) to react, so I can only imagine what you are going through.

KerryMum Thu 06-Sep-07 13:25:11

I'm in Ireland so there are probably some differences.

My ds1 has anaphylaxis to dairy, eggs and peanuts. His classroom is peanut-free. There is a box with all his medications in it in the classroom. When he goes out on break his sna carries anapen on her at all times.

The school hired a sna to supervise ds1 at meal and break times. I realize yours is in secondary school now and a bit older but fgs, she's only 11. I would NOT expect her to self-administer at this age.

All teachers who teach or supervise ds1 are given a dvd from anaphylaxis society to watch (I highly suggest you get a copy of this)

this website should be very helpful:

allergy in schools

I suggest you post over on the sn board as well asking what your dd's legal rights are. Telling you to get another child to administer epi is just so far out there I think the nurse must be self-medicating! shock

tori32 Thu 06-Sep-07 13:44:18

I have to say that for anaphylaxis its a bit much to expect that of an 11 yo. I know that insulin dependent diabetic children self administer, but the children do it every day and get well practiced and used to it. These occurences are less frequent and therefore the way to inject can easily be forgotton by the next attack. Teachers should be taught this in paediatric first aid, and there should be a trained first aider on duty in every place of work with children or adults (its the law!)

Isababel Thu 06-Sep-07 21:08:34

Fakeblond, I believe Tatt's DD is already in high school, I think it won't be long before she shows around with more advice.

tatt Thu 06-Sep-07 21:43:21

my child is at secondary school so we have been through this. I'm afraid most schools do expect the child to carry their adrenaline and adminster it themselves. However it is not true that teachers can not adminster adrenaline. They cannot be REQUIRED to do so but in most schools the education authority invite them to volunteer and provide insurance cover for those who do so. Also all schools are required to have first aid cover. The office staff are often trained and in a large school there should be several trained people. The first aiders CAN be required to adminster medication as part of their contract.

At my child's school there are several teachers who volunteered to be trained. I attended the training session myself taking an extra practise pen and out of date epipens. The school nurse did the training and showed a video. She had a trainer pen but was less proactive about getting people to try it grin About 10 - 12 people attended the training session.

I had raised the issue of nut allergy with schools before deciding what school my child would attend and chose this school partly because they seemed most clued up. I also checked, before my child started, when they last had any training ( it had been a couple of years) so I spoke to the school nurse to enlist her support in making sure they did update their training. As yours is obviously not helpful I'd check with the LEA what their policy is on ensuring teachers. Do you want to say which LEA it is?

It sounds as though you may need to enlist outside help in the form of the anaphylaxis campaign. If you aren't a memeber you can still ask for help. They have regional volunteers who may help you negotiate with schools - I was offered that help. You are posibly going to have to involve governors too.

At 11 your child does also need to start learning to self administer and she can practise with an out of date pen on an orange or apple. It is also useful to have a buddy system. Children are less upset by the idea of using a pen and are likely to be with your child often.

My child carries 2 epipens with her and has one in a clearly labelled box with first aid staff. I have spoken to staff in the canteen about the food. It's all supposed to be nut free but packets of nuts and seeds were on sale briefly. They proved to be pine nuts but your school may sell nuts. In your case I think I'd want 2 with the child and 2 with the first aider.

You are welcome to contact me if you think I might help further and I'll try and remeber to check more often than usual.

I don't want to worry you more but it is not unknown for children to throw nuts at a peanut allergic child "to see how bad their allergy was". You have to be very assertive and persistent if you want to reduce the risks for your child. Also first aider go to lunch. there is supposed to be cover at all times but if you go into the school you'll find that doesn't always happen. That's why I say a buddy system can be useful.

williamsmummy Thu 06-Sep-07 23:05:59

My son has started senior school this week, and has quite a few serious food allergies, as well as environmental.
There has been no formal protocals filled in , the norm is to leave a set of meds with the school nurse, and have your child carry their own meds.

However , this school does have regular epi pen training, and many teachers are epi trained.
Its still early days, i was a little distconcerted to have a school nurse suggest that I tell my lad to get to the sick bay when he is having a reaction. I told her that I had trained him to sit down and ask for help to be brought to HIM!!!
They do have walkie talkies, which is good, and needed for such a large school. Also judgeing by the cupboard there are plenty of allergic children here!

Its still early days , and i do have that stressful feeling, but in many ways do trust my son, who is pretty clued up allergy wise.
Have been dreading this year for some time !!!

tatt Fri 07-Sep-07 06:51:15

please forgive my terrible typing. The issue for teachers is usually insurance and most LEAs provide this. The teachers may also want to reassured you won't sue them if they mess it up. I tend to politely suggest that I might sue if they stood by and did nothing - but I am not going to sue someone who has tried to help.

The best tip to pass on to your child is that she must wash her hands carefully before meals. I'm afraid teenagers aren't always good about that and I have a continual problem at my child's school ensuring that there is soap in the toilets.

My child tends to stick to food she feels comfortable with. There is nothing wrong with mashed potato and baked beans (although my child has problems with one brand of baked beans) and your child will gradually learn to feel comfortable with more foods. Or she could take a packed lunch. Prsonally I feel its important that they join in with the others so children see that the nut allergic can eat with them.

There is a useful document here http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/default.aspx?PageFunction=productdetails&PageMode=publications &ProductId=DFES-1448-2005

cut and paste that into your browser and download it.

angstmum Thu 13-Sep-07 13:31:49

My daughter is nearly 15 and I am sorry to say the worries get bigger. Best advice I can give is to get child to talk openly about the allergy, and ensure that wherever she does her friends know what to do (sit, ask for help as someone else said). DD BF has learnt an epipen dance (swing and jab) in case she ever does it.

Any adviced though on what to do as they socialise more and more? How to avoid spotty peanut eating boy snogging her and causing anaphalxsis?

Also, travelling to Aus and Far east on school sports trip - any advice welcome!

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