A food allergy is an abnormal response to a food, triggered by the body’s immune system. Symptoms of a food induced allergic reaction may range from mild to severe and may become life-threatening. Reactions vary with each person and each exposure to a food allergen and the severity of an allergic reaction is not predictable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an 18 percent increase in food allergies among school-aged children from 1997 to 2007. Current estimates state that between 1 in 13 and 1 in 25 children are now affected with 40 percent reporting a history of severe reaction. There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of food allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions are important measures to prevent serious health consequences.
With the increasing prevalence of food allergies in the past two decades, care of students with life-threatening allergies has become a major issue for school personnel. School personnel should be ready to effectively manage students with known food allergies and should also be prepared to recognize symptoms of an allergic reaction in both diagnosed and undiagnosed students in order to respond to the student’s emergency needs. Caring for children with diagnosed food allergies at-risk for anaphylaxis in the school setting requires a collaborative partnership with the students, parents, healthcare providers and school staff. Therefore, La Porte ISD has adopted and administers a Food Allergy Management Plan policy for the care of students with diagnosed food allergy at risk for anaphylaxis. (Adapted from Guidelines for the Care of Students with Food Allergies At-Risk for Anaphylaxis to Implement Senate Bill 27, 2012)