August may still be high summer, but it’s also when parents and kids start to think about heading back to school. For kids with allergies, going back to school can mean a return to dealing with allergy issues each day without your direct supervision. Here’s a handy checklist for parents in preparing for their child’s return to school.
1. Make an Appointment with Your Child’s Doctor
Even if your child is symptom-free at present, having him or her checked out by the doctor before starting school can identify minor problems before they become major. It’s also an opportunity to evaluate medications and physical activity restrictions.
2. Confirm Medications are Up-to-Date
Make sure your child’s prescriptions are filled and that you have a written plan to provide to the school nurse and teachers that specifies how medicine is to be used during school hours.
3. Schedule a Parent-Teacher Meeting
Meet with the school nurse, coaches and your child’s teachers to talk about your child’s specific allergy triggers and usual allergy symptoms. Discuss how to minimize contact with triggers in the classroom. Ensure that your discussion is also shared with bus drivers.
4. Tour the School While You’re There
Take a look at the places where your child will be spending the school day. This includes areas such as classrooms, art rooms, the gymnasium and cafeteria. Be on the lookout for allergy triggers and communicate with staff on how to get rid of them.
5. Set Up an Emergency Plan & Share It
Make sure your child’s school knows how to get in touch with you in case of an emergency. Ask the school nurse about the school’s past history of dealing with severe allergy attacks. Confirm that school staff have been trained on how to respond to allergy emergencies.
Kathi is an experienced consumer health education writer, with a prior career in nursing that spanned more than 30 years — much of it in the field of home health care. Over the past 15 years, she’s been an avid contributor for a number of consumer health websites, specializing in asthma, allergy, and COPD. She writes not only as a healthcare professional, but also as a lifelong sufferer of severe allergies and mild asthma, and as a caregiver for her mother with COPD.