3 Back-to-School Strategies for Food Allergy Families
Back-to-school time can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially for food allergy families. Meeting new teachers and starting new classes can be stressful enough, but add food allergy management to the mix, and the worry factor can jump ten-fold. But rest easy! Food allergy mom Pam Lestage and food allergist Dr. Hoyt recently discussed their three simple strategies to an awesome back-to-school. Check out this episode of the podcast for all the details, but here is an overview!
Back-to-School Strategy #1
Visit your allergist.
Getting a back-to-school appointment is always a good idea, but if your child has food allergies, it’s especially important to visit your allergist before the school year begins. Reviewing your child’s symptoms and triggers, updating their treatment plan, and making sure they have the tools they need, like epinephrine, can help you and your child feel prepared and confident going into the new school year. This is also a great time to discuss new therapies, like OIT, and plan how to navigate therapies during the new school year!
Back-to-School Strategy #2
Meet with your school nurse and teachers.
One of the best things you can do to help your child manage their food allergies at school is to meet with your child’s school nurse and teachers. Make an appointment to meet with them before the school year begins. During the meeting, you can go over your child’s allergies, symptoms, and treatment plan. You can also provide a list of safe foods and snacks for your child.
Back-to-School Strategy #3
Review your anaphylaxis action plan and practice it with your kiddo.
Anaphylaxis is a serious, potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger food and should be treated with epinephrine. If your child has food allergies, you need to have an anaphylaxis action plan in place. This plan should be reviewed and practiced with your child before the school year begins. Make sure your child knows what to do if they have a reaction, and make sure they know how to use their epinephrine auto-injector (pending they are at an age where you and your allergist feel this can be done properly).
You’ve Got This!
By following these three simple back-to-school strategies, you can help your child manage their food allergies and have a great school year!
About the Authors
Alice Hoyt, MD, FAAAAI
Dr. Hoyt is the allergist who leads the Hoyt Institute of Food Allergy. She has been practicing academic, evidence-based medicine for over a decade. Prior to medical school, she earned a degree in nutrition, so she is well versed in navigating the complexities of food allergies. She then completed training and earned board-certifications in internal medicine, pediatrics, and allergy & immunology.
During her fellowship at the University of Virginia, she launched a now national allergy-focused non-profit organization. At Vanderbilt University, she continued her food allergy-focused efforts before transitioning to Cleveland Clinic, where she helped launch its Food Allergy Center of Excellence. Check out Dr. Hoyt’s publications here on PubMed.
After working at such world-renown institutions, Dr. Hoyt is excited to share her knowledge of food allergy with families in her home state. In addition to leading the Institute, Dr. Hoyt hosts the top-ranked food allergy podcast Food Allergy and Your Kiddo and chairs the nationally recognized non-profit organization Code Ana.
Pamela Lestage, MBA
Pamela Lestage obtained her Masters in Business Administration from the prestigious Ourso College of Business then shared her talents working for a non-profit organization as the development manager. After starting a family, she focused her attention at home.
Since her daughter was diagnosed with peanut allergy as a young toddler, Pamela has made it her mission to learn all there is to know about food allergies in order to help promote awareness and education. She now spends her time volunteering at her children’s schools and with Code Ana, the non-profit that equips schools for medica emergencies. She also cohosts the popular podcast Food Allergy and Your Kiddo.