GARDNER SCHOOL HEALTH SERVICES LIFE-THREATENING ALLERGY POLICY
Purpose: To minimize risks to persons with life threatening allergies, and to provide information and protocols for responding to emergencies resulting from such allergies.
Information: The number of children allergic to peanuts doubled from 1984 to 1994, and has continued to increase dramatically. The number of children with identified life-threatening allergies has also increased rapidly, leading to a real need for education and intervention in the school system. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) has recommended that all school personnel be trained to identify symptoms of life-threatening allergies, and be prepared to intervene when these reactions occur. The Gardner School System will work to minimize incidents of life threatening allergic reactions, and to equip employees and students with the knowledge necessary for reducing risks and treating emergency symptoms effectively.
1.Life-threatening allergy-Any allergy in which exposure to the allergen causes swift and severe symptoms, including possible weakness, sweating, pallor, wheezing, shortness of breath, hives, swelling of eyes, lips, tongue or throat, rapid weak pulse, clammy skin, confusion, or other threatening problems.
2. Allergen-Any substance that causes reaction by susceptible persons upon exposure. May include, but is not limited to: Bee stings, specific foods, chemicals, drugs, pollen, and animal dander.
3. Anaphylaxis-a rapid, systemic, antigen-antibody hypersensitivity reaction that affects a number of organs throughout the body. It often is an immediate, life-threatening event that occurs within seconds to minutes of exposure to a causative allergen. The most common causes are insect venom, drugs, blood products, and foods.
4. Epi-Pen-A unit dose form of Epinephrine, which is the treatment of choice for allergic emergencies because it quickly constricts blood vessels, relaxes smooth muscles in the lungs, and stimulates the heartbeat. It works to reverse hives and swelling around face and lips.
1. In order to reduce incidents of exposure to allergens:
a. School Nurses and health services will monitor environmental concerns by using the “Tools for Schools” method of assessing buildings for Indoor air quality, safe environment, and allergen-free areas for identified foods or other substances.
b. Concerns lists/Allergy lists will be provided for staff within guidelines for confidentiality.
c. School Nurses will provide Individualized Health Care Plans for students identified with a Life-threatening allergy.
d. A “No food trading” and “no utensil sharing” policy will be promoted at each school.
e. Elementary schools will work to reduce allergens within the school environment to the best of their ability. Allergen-reduced areas may include classrooms, dining or work areas, and will be designated as needs are identified.
f. The school will educate staff, parents, students, and the community regarding their goal to reduce/prevent an allergen within the school environment. Steps taken toward preventing exposure may include, but not be limited to:
i. Reducing/preventing the identified allergen in cafeteria foods and/or areas.
ii. Reducing/preventing use of identified allergens in affected classrooms, for any reason.
iii. Limiting and monitoring (as appropriate) for the identified allergen in lunches/backpacks for affected classrooms.
iv. Preventing foods (and/or other identified allergens) to be brought in from home for any reason.
v. Providing written flyers, letters, and informational sessions as needed to inform the public regarding these necessary changes.
g. Gardner Public Schools is “nut aware” and discourages students from bringing nuts and/or nut products into the school building. While we cannot ensure that no nuts/or nut products are brought in by students from home, the cafeteria does not serve anything containing nuts/or nut products. Information is sent home with students and available on the website. Lunches are monitored and if a student has something containing nuts, the student may eat the food in a separate area outside of the lunch room for that day while being supervised by a staff person to avoid potential exposure to other students. The parent will be called and asked to not send in any food containing nuts.
2. In order to effectively treat Exposures to Life-threatening allergens;
a. The Gardner School Nurses will provide Epi-Pen training, at least yearly, and as needed, for teachers and staff participating in field trips.
b. The school nurses will maintain stock Epi-Pens at each nurse office.
c. Students with Epi-Pens that participate in afterschool activities outside of the school building, including but not limited to athletics and band must keep an Epi-Pen in their bag at all times so that it will be available if needed. Staff responsible for these students must be aware and trained to administer the Epi-Pen if needed.
d. Students will be assessed for possible self-administration, based on age, ability and parent consent. Students are encouraged to carry their own Epi-Pen on a daily basis as well as keep one in the health office.
e. When nurses are notified of field trips that include students with Life-threatening allergies, they will ensure that trained staff, or a nurse will participate in the field trip, and an Epi-Pen will be available.
f. Any use of an Epi-Pen will be documented and reported to the Department of Public Health, and reviewed within the nursing team to identify any delays or positive actions taken during the emergency.
[Adopted: November 2004]
[Revised: May 2006]
[Revised: October 2015]