Back-to-school readiness begins with food allergy awareness

With or without kids, back-to-school time gives us a chance to look forward and improve readiness for new challenges. That could mean the challenge to pack healthier lunches for ourselves or to help others learn about food allergies.

Give yourself and your family members a refresh on food allergy readiness.

–Get to know your child’s school nurse. Healthcare professionals want to work in partnership with parents. If your child has a food allergy and will be attending school, meet the nurse. My son moves to a new school this year, and the school nurse has already given him a spot-check on his own food allergy awareness and an Epi-pen quiz. Find your school’s nurse, and be grateful if your school has a full-time nurse. Many schools don’t. Nurses have a lot of kids to mind and they want to keep them all out of harm’s way.

–Drop by the FAAN site and review their updated materials on food allergy action plans. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network sorts out food allergy issues and produces helpful back-to-school resources.

–Listen in or review the transcripts from NPR’s August 4 archives as Diane Rehm interviews Sandra Beasley, author of “Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life.” Sandra Beasley advanced through her school years with more than a dozen food allergies. She speaks candidly about managing her food allergies and finding a balance.

Eat, drink, and be ready.

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