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Secondary School - How do they handle a child with anaphylaxis?

(12 Posts)
KerryMum Mon 01-Sep-08 19:15:48

ds1 has anaphylaxis to dairy, eggs and peanuts.

In primary school he has had a sna all the way through who is with him during meal and break times and knows how to administer his medications.

He's entering secondary school in two years. Have to register him in January.

I am terrified. I was just wondering what arrangements are made in your child's secondary school if they have anaphylaxis.

undervalued Mon 01-Sep-08 19:24:17

You need to talk to someone at the school Kerrymum, explain your fears and let them reassure you. Tell them the severity, and what happens with the SNA in primary as this will give them ideas on how to deal with his needs. Don't be terrified - inform them and let them work it out, I'm sure they will do all they can to ensure the safety of your DS.

tatt Mon 01-Sep-08 20:00:34

We have never had a SNA - did he have frequent reactions? I think at secondary they will expect him to take more responsibility for himself. You need to start training him now so its a gradual process.

I chose my children's school partly for how it responded to questions about handling allergy. You may have some choice of school.
Our school has several children with epipens. They have one in the first aid room and carry others with them. The first aiders are trained to adminster epipens but when I arranged for the school's training to be updated several teachers and the head of catering turned up to be trained/ ask questions. The school doesn't sell nuts (they sold pine nuts until I explained the risks) and label any food that may be dubious. Kids with allergies have different coloured trays at some schools.

My main concern about the school is that the toilets don't always have soap for proper hand washing! My child has been instructed to use staff toilets if necessary but I doubt they'd do it.

Will try and remeber to drop by tomorrow to answer any specific concerns.

mamadiva Mon 01-Sep-08 20:08:46

I worked in an after school club and we had a few children from high school and one of them had a severe allergy to nuts.

He used to bring that spirit hand soap the stuff you just squirt on and rub in dry, I now work in a care home and we are advised to use this between washes so it really is good, we also had several training sessions every 6 months along with the teachers from our local school on how to use epipens and general first aid so I assume there is a strategy in place for schools or atleast I hope so.

SqueakyPop Mon 01-Sep-08 20:22:11

We are doing epipen training in our school tomorrow - the entire staff, both teaching and support.

Our school has compulsory school lunches which are nut-free. If any child has a different serious allergy, we would accommodate them accordingly.

At secondary age, your child should be responsible enough for their own food intake. It really shouldn't be a problem, coupled with alert staff and sympathetic food bans.

KerryMum Mon 01-Sep-08 21:45:31

Oh I don't know if they'll ban peanuts. I wish.

There are 2 secondaries in town. One is very hard to get into as they take siblings, then feeder schools and there are very few places left. It is a far superior school academically and ds1 is very bright. But I wonder if they will balk at his allergies sad

Does anyone know if Anaphylaxis Campaign or other org has guidelines for secondary schools?

1dilemma Mon 01-Sep-08 22:02:05

I thought schools were nut free?

Apart from the staff of course winkgrin


Sorry couldn't resist!!

More seriously I did think schools were nut free (ours is but it's only a primary), they are very on the ball to my shame our ds stuck his fork in the other boys lunch one day and the school rang the other boys Mother and made her bring in another lunch!!

(Yes ds did get spoken too and yes his lunch is nut free)

KerryMum Mon 01-Sep-08 22:11:38

I'm in Ireland so that might make a difference. I think I recall they were getting in "healthy" vending machines with nuts, etc. in them. but memory may be faulty.

1dilemma Mon 01-Sep-08 22:26:23

mm probably is

was your primary nut free?

Do you think the healthy vending machines was just a soundbite?

tatt Tue 02-Sep-08 07:12:10

if the better school is a large one, as most secondaries are, it is very likely to have children with allergies already. However they may not be as severe so the school may think it knows about allergies when it doesn't (as in our school thinking pine nuts were ok). The school is not officially allowed to discriminate against children with allergies (disability legislation would apply).

Schools can not ban nuts. What they can do is provide nut free food and advise parents that there are children at the school with serious allergies. They can only ask parents not to send nuts into school. One of my child's friends is given tree nuts by their parents - but she eats them on the school bus and not around her friend.
Obviously still a contamination risk, hence my concern about soap and hand washing.

The "healthy eating policy" means that some schools sell packets of mixed nuts and seeds. The nuts may be pine nuts and hence deemed "safe". People with nut allergy often test positive for pine nut, as does my child. They may or may not react clinically but our school stopped selling the pine nuts (a bit reluctantly and after consulting their dietician) when I sent them information about the probable risk. That was before we had the positive test.

Kerrymum you need to read the Anaphylaxis Campaign booklet about letting go. You may also find it helpful to go to one of the meetings. Your child is growing up to live in a world where nuts are everywhere. They have to learn to manage their allergies themself. Children change very rapidly at secondary school and become more independent - but he will cope better if preparation is gradual. Personally I'd have liked another year or two before my child had to deal with nuts around but they coped.

KerryMum Wed 03-Sep-08 10:14:11

I know. I know. But it's hard. And he will be a full year younger than most everyone else when he starts secondary. And he's "away with the fairies" a lot and I honestly can't see him keeping himself safe when he still can't even cross the road without looking.

sad

tatt Wed 03-Sep-08 11:10:58

Yes it is hard. For the first few weeks I jumped if the phone rang at lunch smile - but it's part of bringing them up.

All you can do is to talk to the school and make sure the support mechanism is there if anything does go wrong. Also make a big effort on inviting people back so he makes good friendships. You could ask if there is a buddy system (theoretically 6th formers at our school look out for the first years for a week or two) and see if there are children with allergy to be his buddy.

Statistically he's more at risk on the journey to school than he is from his nut allergy - and if he gets run over you don't have an epipen safety net! He will mature a lot in the first few years of secondary.

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