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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2001 Feb;86(2):172-6.

School readiness for children with food allergies.

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University of Michigan Medical Center, Division of Allergy, Ann Arbor, USA.



Food allergy reactions and anaphylaxis may occur in children while at school. However, information regarding school readiness for children with food allergies is unknown.


To identify school education and prevention and treatment policies for food-allergic children in Michigan.


A questionnaire assessing food allergy awareness and avoidance and treatment strategies was mailed to a randomized sample (n = 273) of 2,082 public elementary school principals.


One hundred four responses representing 109 schools were collected. From school estimates of 66,598 children, there was a 1.7% self-reported prevalence of food allergy. The most common allergens were milk and peanut, followed by tree nuts, shellfish, egg, and wheat. Affected children were identified primarily through office records, with few reporting individual emergency plans or designated classrooms, teachers, or lunch tables. Methods of food allergy education included parents of students and in-services. Avoidance strategies, food substitution, and "no-sharing" policies were common, whereas other measures such as food-label-teaching were uncommon. A minority of schools had epinephrine immediately accessible, either in the student's classroom, carried by the student, or passed by teachers. Principals, nurses, and teachers were most often trained to administer epinephrine.


There appears to be a need for schools to formally educate staff on food allergy, provide information on prevention measures such as reading of food labels, establish immediate accessibility to emergency epinephrine, and train staff for appropriate epinephrine use.

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