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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2012 Aug;23(5):428-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2012.01307.x. Epub 2012 May 3.

Primary school teachers' knowledge about and attitudes toward anaphylaxis.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatric Allergy and Asthma, Unit Medical Faculty, Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey. hulya_ercan@yahoo.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

One in 10,000 children experiences an anaphylactic attack, every year. It has been demonstrated that 82% of these attacks occur in children of school age and that most of the attack-related deaths have occurred in schools. In this study, we aimed to investigate primary school teachers' knowledge about and attitudes toward anaphylaxis.

METHOD:

A total of 237 teachers were questioned: 91 working in elementary state schools and 146 in private schools. A questionnaire was completed to obtain data on their knowledge of anaphylaxis and the availability of emergency treatment facilities in schools.

RESULTS:

Fifty-two percent of the teachers knew which students had an allergic disease. When questioned about agents that can potentially cause anaphylaxis, the most significant causes were thought to be pollen by 54% of the teachers, food by 47%, mites by 40%, and drugs by 30%. Of foods, eggs (30.4%) and strawberries (25.3%) were thought to be the two leading causes. The teachers' responses on what would be their initial reaction in the event of an anaphylactic reaction were: he/she would give first aid in 24.3%, notify the school nurse in 39.7%, and call the emergency services in 19.8%. Only 10% were aware of an epinephrine autoinjector, and only 4% knew where to apply it. While 28% of the teachers reported that they had been informed about anaphylaxis previously, most had formed their ideas from brochures or the media. While 25% of the teachers knew all of the symptoms of anaphylaxis, 54% knew some, and 21% none. Only 6% of the teachers reported that there was a management plan for anaphylaxis in their schools.

CONCLUSION:

This study shows that primary school teachers are not well informed about anaphylaxis. Teachers should be given training on the subject, and there should be a re-evaluation of school and health policies with a wider global perspective. There is an urgent need to inquire into the allergy management plans and policies in schools and to develop teacher education organizations on the subject.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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